7 Nov 2019

Rhinos winger Handley earns GB call-up

Great Britain have called Leeds Rhinos winger Ash Handley into their squad to provide additional backline options for the fourth and last game of their tour in Papua New Guinea on Saturday week.

The 23-year-old made his international debut as a member of the England squad at the World Cup Nines last month.

Two members of Britain’s 24-man tour squad, Oliver Gildart and Ryan Hall, have returned home early after suffering injuries in the opening two fixtures against New Zealand and a Tonga Invitational XIII.

Handley will not be considered for Saturday’s Second Test against New Zealand at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, but will join the squad as they prepare for next week’s one-off Test against the Kumuls in Port Moresby – Great Britain’s first Test in Papua New Guinea since 1996.

Handley will be the third member of the squad with recent experience of touring PNG, as he was a member of the England Knights squad which played two internationals against the Kumuls last autumn, along with the Warrington team-mates Jack Hughes and Joe Philbin.

Jamie Peacock, the Great Britain tour manager, said: “We’ve been considering our options since losing Ryan Hall last weekend, and it makes sense for Ash to come out and join us in PNG.

“He had a good season with Leeds to earn his place in the Great Britain Performance Squad, which means he’s had all the necessary injections to come to PNG at short notice. He’s the sort of guy who will really appreciate and benefit from the experience of joining the senior squad, and he will add to our options in an area where our plans have been affected by injury.”

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