Burgess in Bennett’s England Four Nations squad
Sam Burgess was included yesterday in the 24-man England squad announced by coach Wayne Bennett for the Four Nations tournament which gets underway later this month.
It was the first time the 27-year-old, now in his second spell at Australian NRL side South Sydney, had been included in a national rugby league squad since returning from rugby union last year, having made his way into the England squad knocked out in the first round of the 15-man code’s 2015 World Cup.
Veteran Australian coach Bennett selected four uncapped players in Hull’s Scott Taylor, Castleford’s Luke Gale and St Helens duo Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival.
“To have Sam Burgess back is not just a boost for England but one for the international game,” said Bennett. “There’s some serious talent in this English side,” he added of a squad also featuring Burgess’s brothers George and Thomas. “I’ve always said that there wouldn’t be too many changes and there are plenty of guys in the squad who worked hard in last year’s series win against New Zealand who have gone on and performed in 2016.”
England have yet to win the Four Nations, which this year features rugby league giants Australia and New Zealand as well as Scotland. Prior to the tournament, England travel to France for a oneoff match in Avignon on October 22.
Bennett’s men begin their Four Nations campaign against New Zealand in Huddersfield on October 29 before facing Scotland in Coventry on November 5 and Australia at London’s Olympic Stadium on November 13.
John Bateman (Wigan), Kevin Brown (Widnes), George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess (all South Sydney Rabbitohs/AUS), Daryl Clark (Warrington), Mike Cooper (Warrington/St George-Illwarra Dragons/AUS), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Brett Ferres (Leeds), Luke Gale (Castleford), James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs/AUS), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Chris Hill (Warrington), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders/AUS), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Mark Percival (St Helens), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington), Dan Sarginson (Wigan/Gold Coast Titans/AUS), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders/AUS), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons/AUS), George Williams (Wigan). —AFP
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