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England's Graham back for Ireland clash

Former St Helens prop James Graham has been recalled to the England team for Saturday's Rugby league World Cup group A match against Ireland at Huddersfield.
England's Graham back for Ireland clash
by AAP

HUDDERSFIELD, England, Oct 31 PA - Former St Helens prop James Graham has been recalled to the England team for Saturday's Rugby league World Cup group A match against Ireland at Huddersfield.

The 28-year-old Canterbury Bulldogs forward was left out of the opening game against Australia in Cardiff last Saturday but is set to win his 19th cap after being among three changes to the side that lost 28-20 to the Kangaroos.

Graham, who is thought to have served an internal suspension for breaching the team's alcohol ban, takes the place of Wigan prop Lee Mossop while Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin returns from injury in place of the suspended Sam Burgess and Leeds-bound winger Tom Briscoe takes over from Wigan's Josh Charnley, who has a slight shoulder injury.

Huddersfield second rower Brett Ferres and South Sydney props Tom and George Burgess keep their places after making their debuts at the Millennium Stadium while Mossop pays the price for being unable to make an impact from the bench.

"We have made a slight adjustment to the squad this week," said coach Steve McNamara.

"We have one forced with the suspension of Sam Burgess. It gives us a chance to look at a couple of other members of the squad this week.

"It suits us to have a consistent selection from last week with a couple of tweaks.

"We have 24 very good players and the additions to the squad this week, Tom Briscoe, James Graham and Sean O'Loughlin, will give us some impetus and freshness in the team."

The return of O'Loughlin is a timely boost as England seek their first win of the tournament.

He had injury-disrupted end to the season with Wigan but still managed to play key roles in their victories in the Challenge Cup final and Super League Grand Final.

"He is valued by the group and we understand the qualities he brings to the squad," McNamara said.

"Having him available gives us a new dimension to the forward pack with great depth across all positions."

Briscoe will win his 14th cap, but Charnley, who scored his 44th try of the year against Australia, is still regarded as a first-choice winger for his country.




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