You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

God save McQueen after England RL call-up

NZN 25/04/2017 Laine Clark, Darren Walton and Mitchell Van Homrigh

God save McQueen, it seems.

The knives are already out in the UK for Chris McQueen after the former Queensland State of Origin backrower was named in Wayne Bennett's England Test squad.

Former England captain Sam Burgess had no problem with being named alongside well inked ex-South Sydney teammate McQueen in Bennett's 20-strong squad for their May 6 Test with Samoa at Campbelltown.

"Well, his dad's English. I think he is 50 per cent English and I think he is 50 per cent tattooed," Burgess laughed.

But the selection of Brisbane-born McQueen and Cronulla veteran Chris Heighington has raised the eyebrows - and ire - of UK critics.

Under the headline "God Save McQueen? Maybe", BBC Sport claimed Gold Coast Titans backrower McQueen would battle to make the cut for Bennett's final 17 against Samoa.

"The selection of Chris McQueen ... is sure to raise eyebrows," BBC Sport's Dave Woods said.

"He qualifies to wear the white shirt through his English father but it will be interesting to see where coach Wayne Bennett plans to play him - if at all."

Another critic claimed Bennett's inclusion of McQueen and Heighington would "create waves" in England rugby league.

"Safe to say that did not go down well with England fans on social media," the Hull Daily Mail's Paul Clarke said.

"Heighington has already featured for England but I do have to say I have a problem with McQueen, who has represented Queensland six times, playing for England.

"That just shouldn't be an option for Bennett."

McQueen, 29, was approached to play for England in the 2013 World Cup but rejected it in a bid to play Origin for Queensland.

He played in six-straight games for the Maroons from 2013-14 and made a second appearance for an Australian Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea.

"We congratulated him this morning. There was a bit of ribbing about his lack of accent," Titans coach Neil Henry said of McQueen's call-up.

Heighington was last picked for England under former coach Steve McNamara in 2011.

"Chris Heighington's recall is even more surprising," BBC Sport's Woods said.

"At 35 he's not exactly an investment for the long term.

"Heighington might just be a convenient stop gap for the moment."

Critics were upset the Australian duo got the England nod over form Wigan forward Liam Farrell.

"The bigger issue is that those players are maybe not even deserving of selection anyway," Hull Daily Mail's Clarke said.

"Liam Farrell, however, has been outstanding for Wigan and should be in the squad over one of them at least."

McQueen and Heighington are among eight NRL players named in Bennett's squad.

"I don't think I will comment on the England thing and the players not selected - these aren't my decisions," Burgess said of Bennett's squad.

"Wayne picks his team and my job is to go and play and do my best for that team."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon