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3 Burgess brothers in England squad

England coach Steve McNamara on Thursday named the three Burgess brothers in his history-making 19-man squad for the opening match of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup against Australia.
3 Burgess brothers in England squad
by AAP

By Luke Phillips

CARDIFF, Oct 24 AFP - England coach Steve McNamara on Thursday named the three Burgess brothers in his history-making 19-man squad for the opening match of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup against Australia.

Twins George and Thomas Burgess were two of four uncapped players alongside Wigan Warriors second row Liam Farrell and Huddersfield Giants forward Brett Ferres, a late replacement for Gareth Hock, who was kicked out of the squad earlier this week for a "breach of discipline".

With Sam Burgess also named in the squad, it means the trio of brothers become the first named together in an England rugby league side.

Forwards Sam, Tom and George all play for the Russell Crowe-financed South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) and, with elder brother Luke, the quartet this season entered Australian folklore as the first set of four brothers to play in the same top-level side for more than a century. Luke, however, missed the cut for the World Cup.

Leeds Rhino Kevin Sinfield will captain the England team that also includes Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins, the game's most expensive player after he signed for the NRL's New Zealand Warriors.

England suffered a shock 15-14 loss tO unheralded Italy in a warm-up match, but McNamara said that defeat was now behind them as they looked to what is sure to be a humdinger of a match against arch-rivals Australia under the closed roof of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"The players have trained well all week and we are ready to take on Australia," the coach said.

"We have healthy competition for places across all areas. The players are aware of this and continue to put in the effort in training to make sure they are prepared and ready for what should be a thrilling game.

"There is a sense of anticipation and determined resolve amongst the group. This is what we all have been working for over the last few years. We know we are going to have play well to win."

McNamara added: "Our focus on the tournament and throughout the year has been about being the best we can be. We respect all opponents but the aim is to focus on ourselves and continue to improve.

"You sense there is real momentum around the tournament. As a team you want to play on the biggest stages of all and nothing can beat that.

"We are very excited to be playing at one of the most iconic stadiums in the world and our aim is to put on a performance that excites the nation."

England squad

Carl Ablett, George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Rob Burrow, Josh Charnley, Rangi Chase, Leroy Cudjoe, Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, Ryan Hall, Chris Hill, Lee Mossop, James Roby, Kevin Sinfield (capt), Sam Tomkins, Kallum Watkins, Ben Westwood, Gareth Widdop


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