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Rugby League: Smith's England squad a breath of fresh air [Jun. 4th, 2009|01:54 pm]
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Tony Smith's England squad for the match against France in Paris next Saturday is the proverbial breath of fresh air.

Whatever else you might think he has got right or wrong in the past, he is a pretty accurate reader of form.

Thus, the senior players in the party - blokes like Peacock and Morley - are in not because they are senior players, but because they are bang in form.

And the new wave - lads like Myler and Hall - are not some sort of experiment with the future in mind. They are there because they too have the form on the board.

I'm particularly glad to see the Hull KR pair of Shan Briscoe and Peter Fox there, plus Wigan's Sam Tomkins.

I have a hunch that Tomkins might not make the 17, but the Huddersfield duo of Eorl Crabtree certainly should.

Smith knows Crabtree from his time in charge at the Giants and has seen the impasct he has had from the bench this season.

He is likely to use him in that role in Paris, probably in conjunction with Moore, the dummy half he is used to running off at the Galpharm.

Moore is one of those players who shows that progress in this game is not always a straight line. A first-team scrum-half at 16, he has had to re-invent himself at hooker and then go out on loan for two seasons to get out of the shadow of Cunningham and Roby.

I reckon both he and big Eorl could be distinctly handy to have around when the World Cup comes around.

But what should have been a good news story, about them and other fresh faces, became a bit of a fiasco this week when the squad leaked out via a hacker.

The League really can't take a trick when it tries to publicise national team matters at the moment.

There was all the confusion over the elite training squad and what it did and didn't denote. Then the ambiguity over the role of Kris Radlinski - and now the shambolic situation where players could learn of their selection through internet chat-rooms rather than coach or League.

Let's just hope we're better organised on the field next Saturday.