Rugby League World Cup: James Graham recalled by England

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Changes will bring impetus - McNamara

Rugby League World Cup - England v Ireland

Date:
Saturday, 2 November
Kick-off:
14:30 GMT
Venue:
John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, online, mobiles and Connected TVs. Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Live text on the BBC Sport website.

England have made three changes to their squad for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup match against Ireland in Huddersfield.

Wigan pair Josh Charnley and Lee Mossop are left out while South Sydney Rabbitohs' Sam Burgess is banned.

Canterbury Bulldogs forward James Graham, Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin and Leeds winger Tom Briscoe all come in.

Steve McNamara's side will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend's 28-20 loss against Australia.

Graham was not included in the squad for the Australia game, with McNamara walking out of a pre-match media conference when asked by journalists about the former St Helens player's absence, while Briscoe is included because Josh Charnley is suffering from a slight shoulder problem.

O'Loughlin, who struggled with an Achilles injury in the latter part of the Super League season, was expected to come into the reckoning to replace Burgess who was banned for one game after a high tackle on Sam Thaiday.

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Highlights: Australia 28-20 England

"It gives us a chance to look at a couple of other members of the squad," said McNamara. "It suits us to have a consistent selection from last week with a couple of tweaks.

"We have 24 very good players and the additions to the squad this week will give us some impetus and freshness in the team."

England should be too strong for an Irish side who battled well but lost 32-14 to Fiji in their opening game of the tournament in Rochdale on Monday

"It is a positive to have Sean O'Loughlin available for selection," added McNamara. "He is valued by the group and we understand the qualities he brings to the squad. He is fit and looking forward to it. Having him available gives us a new dimension to the forward pack with great depth across all positions.

"Ireland will be very good. They have quality in the side from the Super League and the NRL. They will be better for their performance against Fiji and if we take them lightly we will come unstuck.

"This is a huge game, a full international, with lots at stake. It has the makings of being an absolute belter. We have a full house at Huddersfield, which is a great statement for the sport and there will be passion in the stands for both sides.

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Rugby League World Cup highlights: Fiji 32-14 Ireland

"We have to be ready to play. We learned that lesson the hard way two weeks ago against Italy. We certainly won't be making the same mistake again.

"After a physical game against Australia, we have recovered hard and very well. The players are well aware of what is at stake. The next five weeks are the biggest of our careers. We are ready to do the nation proud."

Meanwhile, Ireland will be without experienced full-back Scott Grix for the game after he failed to shake off a thigh injury which rules him out of playing for his country on his home ground.

Warrington youngster James Mendeika, who had a spell on loan for London Broncos this season, will deputise while Widnes prop Eamon O'Carroll is out with a shoulder injury but former Huddersfield second rower Simon Finnigan is back in contention after a hamstring problem and Warrington second-rower Ben Currie is set to line up at stand-off.

"Ben has played there before - he's played for England against Australia at junior level at stand-off - so he's accustomed to that. And he can play," said coach Mark Aston.

"He might be more of a running six than a ball-playing six but that's what we want. We want people who are going to hit the line hard against a very good team."

England squad: Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos), Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (captain) (Leeds Rhinos), Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne Storm).

Ireland squad: Dave Allen (Widnes), Luke Ambler (Halifax), Bob Beswick (Leigh), Damien Blanch (Catalan Dragons), Danny Bridge (Warrington), Ben Currie (Warrington), Liam Finn (Featherstone, capt), Simon Finnigan (Leigh), Kurt Haggerty (Barrow), James Hasson (Manly), Rory Kostjasyn (North Queensland), Stuart Littler (Leigh), Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington), James Mendeika (Warrington), Anthony Mullally (Huddersfield), Apirana Pewhairangi (Parramatta), Pat Richards (Wigan), Joshua Toole (St George Illawarra), Brett White (Canberra).

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