Sam Burgess, Kallum Watkins and Stevie Ward have been ruled out of contention for Great Britain’s four-match tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea this autumn.
Burgess ended the NRL season with South Sydney with a shoulder injury, and Watkins, who joined Gold Coast Titans from Leeds Rhinos earlier this year, has a rib problem.
Ward suffered a hamstring injury in Leeds’s last game of the Betfred Super League season against Warrington Wolves last month.
“It’s disappointing to lose players, and they are all gutted to be out of contention for the tour,” said Kevin Sinfield, the RFL’s Rugby Director who has chaired the Great Britain selection panel, during a training session at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance today.
“The reaction we’ve had from all players is overwhelmingly positive about the return of GB, and that was the case for Kallum, Stevie and especially Sam, as he’s one of the few guys in contention to have played for Great Britain previously.
“But injuries happen, they test your strength in depth, and they provide opportunities to others. We’ll still have plenty of quality and experience in our squad when it’s announced next week.”
Great Britain will name a 24-man squad for the tour next Monday, with selection to be finalised after Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final between St Helens and Salford Red Devils.
So far the following 11 members of the squad have been confirmed, following their selection for the England squad which will travel to Sydney this weekend for the Downer World Cup Nines:
Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters) Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).