Huddersfield Giants Prop Oliver Wilson: England Call-Up and Ukraine Connection

Huddersfield Giants Prop Oliver Wilson Earns Surprise England Call-Up Amid Ukraine Eligibility

Huddersfield Giants prop Oliver Wilson, 24, is one of six potential debutants in Shaun Wane’s England squad set to take on France in Saturday’s Test match in Toulouse. Wilson’s international backstory, however, is quite remarkable.

Born and raised in Halifax, Wilson qualifies to represent Ukraine through his maternal grandfather, who moved to England shortly after the Second World War. In fact, the Ukrainian Federation of Rugby League had reached out to Wilson prior to his England selection, hoping to secure his services for their national team.

“My grandad was Ukrainian,” Wilson revealed to Love Rugby League from the England camp. “He came over after the war and he came over with nothing, so it’s hard to track down (family members) who are over there. I never met him, he passed before I was born but my mum talks about him all the time.”

Despite the Ukrainian federation’s advances, Wilson admitted he was caught off guard when England coach Shaun Wane called with the news of his surprise selection.

“It was a bit of surprise to be honest,” Wilson recalled with a smile. “I was in Perpignan when he called me on the Friday, I was just sat having a coffee waiting to do a bit of training when he called me and basically said he was going to pick me. I was just over the moon.”

With 91 appearances for the Giants since his 2019 debut, Wilson has become a key member of Ian Watson’s forward pack, impressing with his no-nonsense style of play in the middle. While thrilled to represent England, the talented prop remains proud of his Ukrainian heritage and hopes to don the yellow and blue jersey in honor of his late grandfather one day.

“Yeah definitely, I’d like to,” Wilson said when asked about potentially representing Ukraine in the future. “It’s nice to see them do well and try to get a good rugby team together.”

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