James Graham to captain England against Samoa

James Graham will captain England when they face Samoa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

Hre replaces Wigan loose forward Sean O’Loughlin as skipper, with the Warriors man having not recovered from a quad injury he sustained in the Super League Grand Final.

Joe Westerman of Hull FC takes O’Loughlin’s place in the back row, while Canberra-bound Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson takes the number 9 jersey.

Castleford’s Daryl Clark is on the bench, while Joel Tomkins, recently returned from rugby union, starts in the second row.

“It is a shame that Sean (O’Loughlin) misses the match with a problem with his quad,” said England coach Steve McNamara.

“The Samoa match has come too soon, but we remain confident he’ll be ready for Australia the week after.

James Graham will take over the captaincy for this game. He is a great leader and we saw that with the Bulldogs this season in the NRL where he single-handedly led them to a Grand Final.

“He leads by example and gives 100 per cent effort in everything he does. He inspires everyone around him to follow his lead.

“We have four players in the squad making debut. They are ready. They’ve been in our system for a long time. All four have been in great form during the Super League season.

“There is a slight evolution to the squad this year with some new faces on show.  The debutants are exciting and they can prove themselves on the international stage.”

ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE SAMOA:

1 Sam Tomkins (New Zealand Warriors, Wigan St Patricks), 2 Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks), 3 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion), 4 Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers, Upton), 5 Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders), 6 Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross),7 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook), 8 George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor), 9 Josh Hodgson (Hull KR, East Hull), 10  James Graham (captain) (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook), 11 Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks), 12 Joel Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks), 13 Joe Westerman (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions)

Interchange:

14 Daryl Clark (Castleford Tigers, Fryston Warriors), 15 Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers), 16 Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor), 17 Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)

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