Great Britain boost as fit-again Thompson returns for second Test
Great Britain have been handed a fitness boost with Luke Thompson returning to the squad for Saturday’s second Test against New Zealand after recovering from rib cartilage damage.
The St Helens prop, who was man of the match in his team’s Grand Final win in October, was injured just 12 minutes into the opening game against Tonga and sat out last Saturday’s first Test defeat in Auckland.
He has been joined in coach Wayne Bennett’s 21-man squad for the game in Christchurch by Warrington second rower Jack Hughes, who will make his Lions debut playing at centre, with Zak Hardaker reverting to the wing in place of the injured Ryan Hall.
Hall dislocated his left patella five minutes from the end of Saturday’s 12-8 defeat and has returned to Sydney to continue his recovery with his club side, the Roosters.
The Lions could have sent for a replacement but instead will call on unused players to make up the numbers for the remaining two matches.
Hughes began his career as a centre and has played there for Wigan and Warrington.
The 27-year-old also demonstrated his versatility by playing at stand-off in his team’s Challenge Cup win over St Helens in August.
Team: J Lomax (St Helens); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), J Hughes (Warrington), J Connor (Hull FC), Z Hardaker (Wigan); G Widdop (St George Illawarra), J Hastings (Salford); C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), T Burgess (South Sydney), J Bateman (Canberra), E Whitehead (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt).
Replacements (from): J Jones (Salford), J Philbin (Warrington), D Clark (Warrington), A Walmsley (St Helens), B Austin (Warrington), G Williams New (Wigan), L Thompson (St Helens), L Coote (St Helens).