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McNamara forced to make changes to England squad

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South Sydney forward Sam Burgess and Warrington Wolves’ duo of Ryan Atkins and Ben Westwood have been forced to withdraw from the England Rugby League squad ahead of the forthcoming Autumn International Series against France and Wales.

Burgess, who will miss out on representing his country for the time since 2010, will have surgery after a routine scan revealed that the former Bradford Bulls forward has a knee injury.

Atkins (shoulder) and Westwood (knee and groin) are also ruled out and will both undergo surgery following Warrington’s defeat to Leeds Rhinos in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The three players are replaced in the squad by Wigan Warriors forward Liam Farrell and Warrington pair, Ben Harrison and Stefan Ratchford.

The 24-man squad leave the United Kingdom on Wednesday October 10 for a 10-day high-altitude camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa before travelling back for the Autumn International Series.

England’s opening match in the Autumn International Series will see them face Wales at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground in Wrexham on Saturday October 27 (2.30pm).

Their first ‘home’ fixture takes place a week later, Saturday November 3, at MS3 Craven Park in Hull when England host France in a match which also kicks off at 2.30pm.

The Autumn International Series concludes with the final at Salford City Stadium on Sunday November 11 (5.00pm).

Tickets for the 2012 Autumn International Series cost just £12 for adults and £6 concessions and can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk

-ends-

Danny Reuben

England RL Media Manager

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