Tomkins left out of England’s World Cup squad

Drew Darbyshire

Sam Tomkins has been left out of Wayne Bennett’s England squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The Wigan Warriors star was expected to be selected after Zak Hardaker’s withdrawal, but Three Lions boss Bennett has decided to go with Warrington Wolves half-back Kevin Brown instead.

Jonny Lomax of St Helens or Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford are expected to fill the void of the No. 1 role.

Sean O’Loughlin will captain the side while Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner Luke Gale and Dally M Half-Back of the Year, Gareth Widdop, have also been selected.

Betfred Super League Grand Final winners, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall, are in the squad as well.

St Helens ace James Roby has returned to the international stage and will play under Bennett for the first time after previously representing his country at the 2008 and 2013 tournaments.

There are only two uncapped players called up. Ben Currie is in the 24-man squad while Super League’s top metre-maker Alex Walmsley will also play in his first World Cup.

Australian-born forward Chris Heighington, who qualifies through his father, has also been included by Bennett.

Notable mentions to miss out are George Burgess, Daryl Clark and Mike Cooper as well as Hull FC trio Liam Watts, Marc Sneyd and Danny Houghton, with the latter now expected to represent Scotland.

England are still seen as second favourites for the World Cup, with many bookies offering sign up bonuses to bet on the upcoming tournament.

England 24-man squad: John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), Mark Percival (St Helens), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), James Roby (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).