Following the withdrawal of Sam Burgess from the England squad for the post-season internationals against New Zealand and France, Wayne Bennett has confirmed that Wigan Warriors’ centre Oliver Gildart has been called into the squad to replace the South Sydney forward after being promoted from the Knights squad.
That move could see John Bateman, Gildart’s fellow Wigan star, moved into his preferred forward position from centre, a role he has played many times for England including in last year’s World Cup. The forward is soon to be departing the club for Canberra and, with Sam Tomkins also departing, the likes of Gildart will be keen to ensure their absence doesn’t adversely affect the club.
Gildart, 22, boasts an impressive try scoring record in excess of one every other game throughout his Wigan career, was set to be going on a tour of Papua New Guinea with the reformed England Knights team next week but will now be flying out with the elite squad. Before that, however, he will be keen to make his mark on the Super League Grand Final on Saturday evening as he aims to add to his 2016 winner’s ring before heading Down Under where he will be one of six debutants in Bennett’s squad.