Burgess called up to England Four Nations squad


Sam Burgess has been named in the England squad for the Four Nations, marking his first call-up to the national side since returning to rugby league.

Burgess moved back to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in November last year, leaving rugby union side Bath after his inclusion in the England squad for a Rugby World Cup campaign that ended in a humiliating pool stage exit on home soil attracted much criticism.

And he has been included in Wayne Bennett's 24-man party for the Four Nations, which England will be looking to win for the first time.

Four uncapped players, St Helens pair Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival, Hull FC's Scott Taylor and Castleford Tigers' Luke Gale, have been handed call-ups.

But Bennett has largely stuck with the same group that beat New Zealand in a three-match Test series last year, with 15 players from that squad keeping their place.
Wigan Warriors trio Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Tomkins and Dom Manfredi, and Warrington Wolves' Ben Currie have been omitted due to injury.

Bennett said: "I've always said that there wouldn't be too many changes when I arrived and there are plenty of guys in the squad who worked hard in last year's International Series win against New Zealand who have gone on and performed in 2016.

"To have Sam Burgess back is not just a boost for England but one for the international game. Having worked with him in the past, he's a great bloke to have around and have by your shoulder on the field.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game and to lose players like O'Loughlin, Tomkins and Currie isn't ideal but it does offer opportunities to others who have performed in the year and it's good to see some new and returning faces in the squad.

"There's some serious talent in this English side and that's testament to the England programme, the clubs they play for and the player's attitude in wanting to do their best each week. I've spoken to the boys and they're well aware what's ahead of them in this tournament."

England begin their Four Nations campaign against defending champions New Zealand at the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield on October 29.


Squad in full:

John Bateman, Kevin Brown, George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, Dan Sarginson, Scott Taylor, Kallum Watkins, Elliot Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.