3 Oct 2018

Five newcomers in England rugby league squad to play Kiwis

6:16 am on 3 October 2018

There are five newcomers named in the England rugby league squad for the Test series against New Zealand starting at the end of the month.

South Sydney and England international Sam Burgess.

South Sydney and England international Sam Burgess. Photo: Photosport

South Sydney forward George Burgess is set to be reunited with his brothers Sam and Tom on the international stage.

Burgess hasn't played alongside his siblings since the 2016 Four Nations Series when England last played on home soil.

Together, the Rabbitohs' trio will be the cornerstones of a 24-man England squad for Tests against France and New Zealand.

St George Illawarra forward James Graham and Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson are also inclusions.

Wakefield backs Tom Johnstone and Reece Lyne are among five uncapped players.

The others are St Helens prop Luke Thompson, 18th man for the mid-season Test against the Kiwis in Denver, Wigan second-rower Joe Greenwood, who has played just nine matches since his return from Gold Coast Titans, and Castleford loose forward Adam Milner.

England celebrate a try against the Kiwis in Denver.

England celebrate a try against the Kiwis in Denver. Photo: Photosport

Former Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins is also back in the squad after a four-year absence.

The squad includes nine members of the team that lost to Australia in the World Cup final last December, 15 members of the World Cup squad and 13 of the 17 who won in Denver.

Ruled out through injury are Gareth Widdop, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Ben Currie, Alex Walmsley and James Roby, the St Helens hooker who will have surgery at the end of the Super League season.

Wayne Bennett's men play France at the Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday, October 17, followed by a three-Test series against New Zealand - at Hull's KCOM Stadium on Saturday, October 27, at Anfield on Sunday, November 4, and at Elland Road on Sunday, November 11.

"The England team have an attractive and important series of matches this autumn and the players are relishing the prospect of representing their country in front of home crowds again," Bennett said.

"It's important that we build on the positive work of the last couple of years, including last year's World Cup and the Denver Test, against what we'd expect to be the usual stern challenge from the Kiwis."


J Bateman (Wigan), G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess (all South Sydney), D Clark (Warrington), J Connor (Hull), L Gale (Castleford), J Graham (St George Illawarra), J Greenwood (Wigan), C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), T Johnstone (Wakefield), J Lomax (St Helens), R Lyne (Wakefield), T Makinson (St Helens), J McGillvary (Huddersfield), A Milner (Castleford), S O'Loughlin (Wigan), M Percival (St Helens), S Ratchford (Warrington), L Thompson (St Helens), S Tomkins (Wigan), E Whitehead (Canberra), G Williams (Wigan).