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

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017 Laine Clark

God save McQueen, it seems.

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

The selection of Brisbane-born McQueen and Cronulla veteran Chris Heighington raised the eyebrows - and ire - of UK critics after Bennett unveiled his 20-strong squad for their May 6 Test with Samoa at Campbelltown.

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.

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.

"There are some quality players left behind in England who have either just missed out or been ruled out through injury and this game enables me to look at some of those who haven't been in the squad before," Bennett said in a statement.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon