Graham missing as England name squad for opener

James Graham has been left out of the England squad to face Australia in Saturday’s World Cup opener at the Millennium Stadium.

The Canterbury Bulldogs prop’s absence means all three Burgess players could line-up alongside each other in Cardiff.

Michael McIlorum, Zak Hardaker and Tom Briscoe are also missing, while Sean O’Loughlin looks to have lost his race to be fit for the first game.

Brett Ferres, who was drafted in to replace Gareth Hock earlier this week, is named in the 19-man squad.

England coach Steve McNamara said: “The players have trained well all week and we are ready to take on Australia.

“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.

“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 19-man squad: Ablett, G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess, Burrow, Charnley, Chase, Cudjoe, Farrell, Ferres, Hall, Hill, Mossop, Roby, Sinfield, Tomkins, Watkins, Westwood, Widdop.

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