Widdop ruled out of Samoa test

England need a replacement for stand-off Gareth Widdop for the mid-season Test against Samoa after he was ruled out for around six weeks.

Widdop damaged knee ligaments in St George Illawarra’s NRL defeat against Sydney Roosters on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after being named in England coach Wayne Bennett’s 20-man squad for the international in Sydney on 6th May.

“Scans have shown that Gareth has some significant damage to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee so for the next two weeks he will be in a brace,” St George Illawarra’s head of athletic performance Nathan Pickworth told the club’s official website.

“After those two weeks we’ll have a good indication of his return-to-play time-frame, but hopefully it will be somewhere around the six-week mark.”

St Helens scrum-half Matty Smith or Warrington duo Kevin Brown are potential replacements from the England-based 30-man elite training squad, while Canberra half-back Blake Austin – who qualifies through his grandmother – could also be an option.

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