England RL coach Steve McNamara and his coaching staff today named a 24-man squad for the Rugby League World Cup 2013 taking place in England and Wales including two players uncapped at international level – South Sydney Rabbitohs twin brothers George Burgess and Tom Burgess.
Alongside the uncapped duo, third Burgess brother Sam is in the squad for the first time since 2010. It is the first time that three brothers have been selected in an England squad.
Leeds Rhinos Kevin Sinfield will lead a squad looking to become the first home nation’s team to win the World Cup since 1972, when Great Britain edged Australia in the final league placings.
The Rhinos and Wigan Warriors have the biggest representation with six players each. Souths, who play in the Australian premier competition the NRL, have three representatives and Super League Grand Finalists Warrington Wolves two. The other clubs represented are Canterbury Bulldogs, Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Melbourne Storm, St Helens and Widnes Vikings (one each).
England Rugby League coach, Steve McNamara, said: “After three years of excellent preparation and the success of the England Elite Training programme during that period, we are ready for the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“We are fully aware that the Rugby League World Cup 2013 will be fiercely contested and that this squad will need to work extremely hard and play to a very high level to win the tournament and we believe we have selected a squad capable of doing just that.
“As we have seen in previous tournaments, we will need all members of the squad ready to step up and make vital contributions and we feel that all 24 players have the ability to do that.
“To have a World Cup on home soil is a massive opportunity for the sport and I hope the public will turn up in their numbers and show their support for England.”
England begin their preparations with a training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
The majority of the squad travel to South Africa on Wednesday (October 2) with the remaining players, involved in the Super League Grand Final, joining up on Monday October 7.
England have a warm-up game against Italy on Saturday October 19 at the Salford City Stadium (kick off 4.30pm) with the England Knights also in action on the same day against Samoa (kick off 2.00pm).
England start their Rugby League World Cup 2013 campaign on Saturday October 26 when they take on Australia at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (2.30pm).
Their other group matches are:
England v Ireland, Saturday November 2, John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield (2.30pm).
England v Fiji, Saturday November 9, KC Stadium, Hull (2.30pm).
Tickets for the Rugby League World Cup 2013 are available now at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.
James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Tom Briscoe (Hull), Carl Ablett, Rob Burrow, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Kevin Sinfield, Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne). James Roby (St Helens), George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Chris Hill, Ben Westwood (Warrington), Gareth Hock (Widnes), Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Tomkins (Wigan)
Huddersfield’s Brett Ferres will travel to South Africa but has not been named in the Rugby League World Cup squad.