THERE are eight Saints players in the Lancashire squad for the second of this year’s three-match Academy Origin series, at Salford on Sunday 26 June (KO 5pm).

Paul Anderson, Head of England Pathways, makes four changes from the 21-player Lancashire squad that won the first encounter 56-34 at Widnes last month and eight to the Yorkshire squad hoping to level the series at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Linking up with Shane Eccles’ Lancashire squad for the first time are St Helens duo Ellis Archer and Jon Vaughan, Jamie Reddecliff of Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors’ Zach Eckersley.

Head coach Eccles is a long-serving member of Wigan Warriors’ scholarship and academy systems, and will again be assisted by Warrington Wolves pair Tyrone McCarthy (Scholarship head coach) and Liam Myler (strength and conditioning).

Paul Anderson, Head of England Pathways, says: “Game one was a high-scoring affair, but there were periods of real intensity – especially at the beginning. The challenge for these players is to maintain that intensity throughout.

“I’ve had one-to-one reviews with every player who took the field at Widnes.

There were positives in every individual performance, but players are accountable for themselves for the full 80 minutes.

"As part of their development, all players need to show that they have what it takes to perform at this level and understand what it takes to be an England player.

“I’ve also made some changes this time, which means opportunities for other players to come in and show what they can do.

"As the series progresses we’ll see more cohesion and connectivity on the pitch, and a greater sense of togetherness off it thanks to residential camps in Warrington and Leeds.

"It’s important that our best players are exposed to the camp environment they might experience at senior level and can better understand the demands and expectations involved.

“Plus, all training sessions ahead of each Origin match will be held at Leeds Beckett University – a world class campus which reflects the ambitions of our development programme.”

Lancashire 21 player squad: Ellis Archer, McKenzie Buckley (both St Helens), Jack Darbyshire (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney, Kalan Devine (both St Helens), Aiden Doolan (Warrington Wolves), Jacob Douglas, Zach Eckersley (both Wigan Warriors), Ben Hartill, Leon Hayes (both Warrington Wolves), Sam Haynes (St Helens), Harvie Hill (Wigan Warriors), Ben Lane, Ciaran Nolan (Both St Helens), Richards Nsemba (Wigan Warriors), Jamie Reddecliff (Warrington Wolves), Jack Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Jake Thewlis, Nolan Tupea (both Warrington Wolves), Jon Vaughan, Leunbou Bardyell Wells (both St Helens), Max Wood (Wigan Warriors).

Yorkshire 21 player squad: Kai Armstrong (Hull FC), Bailey Arnold (Bradford Bulls), Denive Balmforth (Hull FC), Connor Barley (Hull Kingston Rovers), Alfie Edgell (Leeds Rhinos), George Flanagan Jnr (Bradford Bulls), Harrison Gilmore (Leeds Rhinos), Lucas Green (Warrington Wolves), Jake Higgins (Leeds Rhinos), Ellis Hobson (Wigan Warriors), Adam Holroyd (Warrington Wolves), Joseph Kellett (Bradford Bulls), Matt Laidlaw (Hull FC), Myles Lawford (Bradford Bulls), Riley Lumb (Leeds Rhinos), Lewis Martin, Sullivan Medford, Charlie Severs, Nick Staveley, Manoa Wacokecoke (all Hull FC), Toby Warren (York City Knights).

Origin Academy has this year returned to its three-match format this summer following the enforced cancellation of the entire 2020 programme and a Covid-curtailed 2021. Academy Origin II follows Salford Red Devils home match against Wakefield Trinity, which kicks off at 3pm.

The third and final encounter takes place at Wakefield on Sunday 24 July.