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Tomkins absent from England squad

Tomkins absent from England squad

Wigan Warriors star Sam Tomkins was a notable omission from the 24-man squad named by England for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup. nTomkins misses out after struggling with injury for large parts of the Super League season that has just ended, with Castleford Tigers full-back Zak Hardaker also left out due to off-field issues.

Head coach Wayne Bennett has named two uncapped players in his squad, Warrington Wolves second row Ben Currie and St Helens prop Alex Walmsley, while hooker James Roby is back in the fold after a two-year absence.

England squad: John Bateman, Kevin Brown, Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Ben Currie, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Heighington, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Mike McMeeken, Sean O'Loughlin, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, James Roby, Scott Taylor, Alex Walmsley, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

And Bennett is looking forward to the challenge, believing he has a strong squad for a tournament being jointly hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He told the official RFL website: "Selecting the final 24 with the help of my coaching staff was tough and that was down to the effort and performances of many players throughout the season. The competitiveness of Super League and NRL and knowing the goal of playing for your country in a World Cup has made many raise their game and become better athletes. This is shaping up to be a very competitive tournament. Squads are being confirmed now and it's clear to see the spread of talent will add to some exciting games."

England can be backed at 15/2 to win the World Cup, while they are 13/10 to finish as runners-up and 23/20 to be knocked out at the semi-final stage.





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