Rugby League World Cup: Gareth Widdop return a boost for England

Gareth Widdop

Half-back Gareth Widdop boosted his England World Cup hopes by playing the full 80 minutes of Melbourne Storm's 20-10 defeat by South Sydney.

Widdop, 24, had been out with a hip injury since June but proved his fitness in a reserve grade match for Easts Tigers last weekend.

The Halifax-born playmaker replaced Brett Finch in the squad.

His return, added to that of has improved boss Steve McNamara's options.

McNamara will be without

Souths, who named three of the - Sam, Luke and George - in their squad for the game, are now 80 minutes away from the Premiership final.

Meanwhile, Storm get a second chance to progress to the last four with an eliminator against Cronulla or North Queensland next week.