Six players from Catalan Dragons have been included in coach Daniel Anderson’s initial 30-strong squad for the international origin series against England this summer.
The French club failed to provide a single representative for last year’s inaugural one-off match after Steve Menzies pulled out, but the form of Trent Robinson’s double-chasing team this year is reflected in the selection of Clint Greenshields, Lopini Paea, Louis Anderson, Darryl Millard, Scott Dureau and Setaimata Sa.
Anderson played last year while a Warrington Wolves player and he is one of 10 survivors from the Stobart Super League-based Antipodean side that beat England 16-12 at Headingley.
This year there will be two games - starting at St Helens’ Langtree Park on Saturday 16 June - and, because there are no Super League fixtures that weekend, the coach is no longer restricted to choosing a maximum of three players per club.
St Helens and Wigan Warriors provide 10 players between them while Warrington have four representatives, including captain Brett Hodgson, who is excited by array of talent.
The squad, drawn from 11 Super League clubs, can boast 250 international caps and 30 State of Origin appearances between them.
“This initial squad is so strong and has so much experience that I think the series will be a great spectacle,” said Hodgson.
“We want to use these games to build on last year’s victory and really develop the Exiles concept.
“There’s no question that this talented group of players can drive that forward and will give England two really tough games.”
The second match will be held at Huddersfield Giants’ Galpharm Stadium on Wednesday 4 July.
Exiles squad: Anthony Laffranchi, Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia, Tony Puletua, Sia Soliola (all St Helens), Antonio Kaufusi, Michael Robertson (both London Broncos), Brett Delaney (Leeds), Brett Finch, George Carmont, Thomas Leuluai, Jeff Lima, Pat Richards (all Wigan), Brett Hodgson (capt), Trent Waterhouse, Joel Monaghan, Michael Monaghan (all Warrington), Clint Greenshields, Lopini Paea, Louis Anderson, Darryl Millard, Scott Dureau, Setaimata Sa (all Catalan Dragons), David Fa’aologo, Jason Chan, Luke O’Donnell (all Huddersfield), Heath L’Estrange (Bradford), Willie Manu (Hull FC), Jake Webster (Hull KR), Joel Moon (Salford).