England have been given a major boost ahead of Sunday’s World Cup Quarter Final against Papua New Guinea with the news that Sam Burgess has recovered from the knee injury sustained in the opening game against Australia.
The 28 year-old has been included in Wayne Bennett’s 21-man squad for the game in Melbourne after spending 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. Gareth Widdop remains in the full-back position and Kevin Brown retains his place at stand-off alongside Luke Gale. Jonny Lomax is recovering from a calf strain so once again misses out.
Papua New Guinea topped Pool C after winning all of their games in Port Moresby against Wales, Ireland and USA.
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.”
England 21-man squad to face Papua New Guinea: Gareth Widdop, Jermaine McGillvary, Kallum Watkins, John Bateman, Ryan Hall, Kevin Brown, Luke Gale, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, James Graham, Sam Burgess, Elliott Whitehead, Sean O’Loughlin (c), Alex Walmsley, Thomas Burgess, Ben Currie, James Roby, Chris Heighington, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, George Williams