HAVE YOUR SAY: Will the new look England side work against Papua New Guinea?

England head coach Wayne Bennett has kept the spine of his 17-man squad that will face Papua New Guinea in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Sunday.

Sam Burgess has recovered from a knee injury and is set to start in the back-row in England’s huge quarter-final clash with the Kumuls in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Sunday.

Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead will all return to the squad after being rested for the game against France last week, in place of Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, George Williams and Scott Taylor.

Gareth Widdop was loverugbyleague.com’s man of the match in England’s win over France and he is set to remain at full-back this weekend, with Kevin Brown keeping his position in the halves alongside Luke Gale.

St Helens full-back Jonny Lomax is still recovering from a calf strain.

Widdop had an exceptional game at full-back and the selection of Kevin Brown raised a lot of eyebrows originally but the Warrington Wolves man had a great game and did all the simple stuff right and his organisationally skills allowed Luke Gale to play more freely. George Williams came off the bench but is set to miss out this week.

James Roby was the only England player to be named in loverugbyleague.com’s Team of the Week for Round 3 and he will keep his place in the team this week, coming off the bench for Canberra Raiders ace Hodgson.

And Bennett wants more consistency from his side this weekend.

He said: “We’ve just had a good week in Perth and I was glad to get the win against France. The players are aware of what needs fixing up from that game.

“We were very clinical in the first half but need to be more disciplined to make it more than that and turn it into an 80-minute display.

“We’re back in Melbourne in familiar surroundings and have a big few days ahead of us in terms of preparation. Papua New Guinea have shown they can play and have got some quality in their side.”

England team to face Papua New Guinea: 1. Gareth Widdop, 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. John Bateman, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. James Graham, 11. Sam Burgess, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.

Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Tom Burgess, 16. Ben Currie, 17. James Roby.

Reserves: 18. Chris Heighington, 19. Mark Percival, 20. Stefan Ratchford, 21. George Williams.

What do you think of the new look England team? Will it work against Papua New Guinea? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. England will win by 14 points.The spine of Widdop,Gale and Kev Brown will click after our massive packs big yards and we look forward to Tonga in the Semis.

  2. A big dangergame for England this weekend. In my opinion England have too much class in the halves and forwards. Should be a class above PNG. Expect PNG to put in a spirited performance but without their fans and a home game this should finish with England going through it quite comfortably.

  3. PNG has Improved a lot over the 4-5 years. All their players are either Queenslands Cup or NRL. Now that is unprecedented for a PNG Team. This game will be much more closer than the last time in 2008 when England beat PNG 32-22.

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