Lomax given nod by Bennett for World Cup opener with Australia

Jonny Lomax has been selected at fullback for England’s World Cup opener with Australia.

The St Helens fullback has been given the nod over Stefan Ratchford, despite being the only member of the travelling squad not to feature in the warm-up match against the Combined Affiliated States.

England won that game 74-12 with Ratchford and Gareth Widdop featuring at fullback, but Lomax will take up the role against the defending world champions in Melbourne on Friday.

John Bateman has been selected at centre by Wayne Bennett, earning selection over recognised Saints centre Mark Percival.

Meanwhile, Sam Burgess will remain in the back-row after impressing there last week, partnering Elliott Whitehead while Sean O’Loughlin will captain the side at loose-forward.

James Roby has been named on the bench.

England team to face Australia: Lomax, McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall, Widdop, Gale, Hill, Hodgson, Graham, S Burgess, Whitehead, O’Loughlin. Subs: Walmsley, Heighington, T Burgess, Roby.