Saints duo to face Papua New Guinea

James Roby. NRL Photos
James Roby. NRL Photos

James Roby and Alex Walmsley and Mark Percival are named in England’s squad for Sunday’s World Cup quarter final showdown with Papua New Guinea at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

But there is no place for their St Helens club mate Jonny Lomax who is still suffering from a calf strain. Mark Percival, who was named in the initial 21-man squad, also misses out.

It now seems likely that Gareth Widdop will retain the full back and Warrington’s St Helens born and bred Kevin Brown remaining in the halves.

And Sam Burgess, who picked up the injury during the opening game of the tournament against Australia, has spent the last few weeks working with England staff on a recovery programme that would make him available to play during the knock-out stages of the World Cup.

Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead all return to the squad after being rested for the France game last week.

England head coach, Wayne Bennett, said: “We’ve just had a good week in Perth and I was glad to get the win against France. The players are aware of what needs fixing up from that game.

“We were very clinical in the first half but need to be more disciplined to make it more than that and turn it into an 80-minute display.

“We’re back in Melbourne in familiar surroundings and have big few days ahead of us in terms of preparation. Papua New Guinea have shown they can play and have got some quality in their side.”

Team: G Widdop; J McGillvary, K Watkins, J Bateman, R Hall; K Brown, L Gale; C Hill, J Hodgson, J Graham, S Burgess, E Whitehead, S O’Loughlin (capt). Interchange: A Walmsley, T Burgess, B Currie, J Roby.