LARNE PATRICK and Joe Wardle have pulled out of the England Knights.
The Giants duo had been included in the original squad for the two-Test series against Ireland and Scotland later this month.
But the pair have now opted to take a complete rugby league break in order to return for Giants pre-season training in three weeks’ time in the peak of condition.
Fellow Knight Jermaine McGillvary also pulled out of the squad three weeks ago to undergo ankle surgery, but Greg Eden and Michael Lawrence are expected to be included in the trimmed-down squad which is to be announced next week.
Giants chief Paul Anderson knows the fully-fit Eden and Lawrence will benefit from the experience of playing for the Knights, and he is equally delighted that Patrick and Wardle have decided to put club before international recognition.
“I know how excited Larne and Joe were to get their England Knights calls, and I was excited for them,” said Anderson.
“But I also know they’ve made the right choice to pull out now.
“Joe obviously underwent major mid-season groin and abdominal surgery which kept him out for a number of months.
“He did come back strongly towards the end of the season, but that has taken a bit of a toll on his body, so he’s clearly made the right choice and that’s been fully accepted by the England set-up.
“And that’s also the case with Larne.
“He had a minimal off-season last year after having surgery on a wrist injury and, as this season has gone on, we’ve seen more and more strapping appearing all over his body.
“As a result he’s been a bit down on himself towards the end of the year, and taking a complete break for a couple of weeks will probably do him a power of good.
“Larne and Joe are both following a home programme, and we’re looking forward to seeing them come back to us at the end of this month in great shape.”
Giants snap up England young stars – Pages 42 & 43