England Rugby league have been rocked on the eve off their biggest game in 22 years, as their captain Sean O’Loughlin as failed a fitness test and a leg injury he sustained during the 20-18 win over Tonga in last weeks Semi Final.
The Injury means that England Head coach will now re-jig his team with Star man Sam Burgess reverting to his more accustomed role of Loose Forward along with taking over the captain’s arm band in what will be the biggest game in the careers of ever player. With Burgess now moving into the ‘Middles’ this means Warrington Wolves 2nd rower Ben Currie will move off the bench to make only his 2nd ever start for England in the second row.
Replacing Currie on the bench is St Helens Utility back Jonny Lomax who started the tournament as England’s first choice fullback but after suffering an injury in that game, he has found it hard to return to the side, due to the excellent form of Gareth Widdop in that position. The addition of Lomax to the bench means England now have cover for several positions including hooker, were the lose of Josh Hodgeson to an ACL knee ligament injury earlier during last week’s game meant that James Roby would be looking at playing a full 80 mins. This is something he does regularly at club level in super league, however in a game of this intensity the option to give him a rest if needed when be beneficial.
England: G Widdop (St George Illawarra); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), K Watkins (Leeds), J Bateman (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); K Brown (Warrington), L Gale (Castleford); C Hill (Warrington), J Roby (St Helens), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), B Currie (Warrington), E Whitehead (Canberra), S Burgess (South Sydney, capt).
Interchanges: A Walmsley (St Helens), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Heighington (Cronulla), J Lomax (St Helens).