Rugby League World Cup 2013: Burgess trio in England squad

 

Rugby League World Cup

  • Dates: 26 October to 30 November

Coverage: Live BBC TV, radio and online coverage of all England's group matches and Wales v Italy, plus one quarter-final, one semi-final and the final

England have named three Burgess brothers in their 24-man squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which starts later this month.

Twins George and Tom, 21, the only uncapped players in the squad, received call-ups alongside older brother Sam, 24.

All three play for South Sydney Rabbitohs after starting their professional careers at Bradford.

McNamara backs Burgess brothers

England coach Steve McNamara stopped short of naming all four siblings, though, as 26-year-old former Leeds prop Luke, who also plays for the Rabbitohs in the NRL, missed out.

"Luke will be disappointed, but I'm sure he'll be happy that three of the four are included," McNamara told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It would have been a fairy tale if all four [brothers] were involved, but it's not my job to do that.

"George, right from the start, has been sensational. He's blossomed. Tom has pretty much been the same. All three will bring a lot to the squad."

George has just been named the Dally M rookie of the Year 2013 as the best young player in the NRL.

Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield will lead a squad looking to become the first home nations team to win the World Cup since 1972, when Great Britain edged Australia in the final league placings.

The history boys

Sam, George and Tom Burgess will be aiming to emulate the Henderson brothers - Kevin, Ian and Andrew - who all played in the 2008 World Cup for Scotland

Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin is included despite injury, but Huddersfield prop Eorl Crabtree and St Helens utility player Jon Wilkin miss out.

Richie Myler, who has reached the Grand Final with Warrington and played for England against the Exiles in June, is also left out, along with 36-year-old club-mate Adrian Morley.

Injuries ruled out Leeds forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan and centre Jack Reed of the Brisbane Broncos.

Australia-based Gareth Widdop is included and completes a remarkable recovery after dislocating his hip in June.

"Sean is so important to the group and we wanted to give him every opportunity to be fit," added McNamara. "I'm very confident he will be fit."

England, who finished third in the last World Cup in 2008, start their campaign on 26 October  against Australia in Cardiff before moving to Huddersfield, where they face Ireland on 2 November.

World Cup 2013

  • Starts on 26 October with a double-header at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium featuring England v Australia and Wales v Italy
  • Final at Old Trafford on 30 November
  • 14 teams taking part: England, Australia, Fiji, Ireland, New Zealand, France, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Tonga, Italy, Wales, Cook Islands, United States
  • There are 28 games in total, taking place in England, Wales, Ireland and France

They round off their Group A campaign against Fiji in Hull on 9 November.

McNamara said: "We are fully aware that the tournament will be fiercely contested and that this squad will need to work extremely hard and play to a very high level to win it.

"As we have seen in previous tournaments, we will need all members of the squad ready to step up and make vital contributions.

"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."

New Zealand are the reigning champions, having beaten Australia 34-20 in the final five years ago.

England squad: Carl Ablett (Leeds), Tom Briscoe (Hull), George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess (all South Sydney), Rob Burrow (Leeds), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Liam Farrell (Wigan), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Chris Hill (Warrington), Gareth Hock (Widnes), Michael McIlorum (Wigan), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, capt), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne).