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Burgess Named for England vs Lebanon

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 19:  during the England Rugby League World Cup 2017 Team Photo Session at Rendezvous Observation City on October 19, 2017 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane for NRL Photos)

Rabbitohs prop Thomas Burgess has been named on England’s interchange bench ahead of England’s World Cup clash with Lebanon this Saturday night at the Sydney Football Stadium.

England will be without Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess who injured his medial ligament in his knee in last weekend’s loss to Australia, with Sam not expected back before the World Cup Finals. He will be replaced in the second row by Ben Currie, who made his England debut against Australia last week after getting a late call up to replace Alex Walmsley who had been suffering from a virus.

Bennett has handed Walmsley a place in the matchday seventeen after Super League’s top metre-maker (4256m) overcame illness and has now resumed full training.

Lebanon, who are coached by former Australian international and New South Wales representative, Brad Fittler, won their opening fixture against France 29-18. Captained by Rabbitohs hooker Robbie Farah and featuring young Rabbitoh Adam Doueihi, the Cedars’ half-back Mitchell Moses capped off a fine performance with 13 points.

This will be the first time England and Lebanon have met in an International Test – the Cedars only started playing full internationals in 1998.

England landed in Sydney on Sunday and preparations for this game started on Monday with training at Redfern Oval.

On the squad, Wayne Bennett, said: “We were unfortunate to lose Sam early in the game against Australia but received some good news and we can now possibly get him back sooner than anticipated.

“Apart from Sam, everyone is fit, healthy and good to go against Lebanon. Friday’s result was disappointing but the players have shown they wanted to get straight back into it and we had a great day in hot temperatures on Monday.

“Alex was in the match day squad last week and he was unlucky not to make the field. He’s feeling good again and I want to see what he can offer against Lebanon.”

On Lebanon, Bennett, added: “They’ve got NRL players in their squad and we know Brad will be getting the best out of them. They have got quality and we’re going to have to be good.”

England’s 21-man squad to play Lebanon is:

1. Jonny Lomax

2. Jermaine McGillvary

3. Kallum Watkins

4. John Bateman

5. Ryan Hall

6. Gareth Widdop

7. Luke Gale

8. Chris Hill

9. Josh Hodgson

10. James Graham

11. Ben Currie

12. Elliott Whitehead

13. Sean O’Loughlin

Interchange:

14. Alex Walmsley

15. Chris Heighington

16. Thomas Burgess

17. James Roby

Reserves:

18. George Williams

19. Mike McMeeken

20. Mark Percival

21. Stefan Ratchford

Coach – Wayne Bennett