After last week’s announcement that South Sydney captain and England’s World cup final skipper Sam Burgess will miss the first Great Britian tour in over twelve Years due to a recurrence of a should issue during the recent NRL play off’s, yesterday saw yet another two stars withdraw from selection.
Wigan and current England skipper Sean O’Loughlin effectively announced his retirment from International rugby after the 36 year old who has spent large parts of the season on the side lines with injuries decide to decline selection following talks with the GB coaching staff.
Although no decesion like this would be taken lightly as O’Loughlin on his day is still considered a game changer, Great Britian and England head coach Wayne Bennett did admit it was important they had agreed on the best course of action as he told reporters;
“Hopefully it will help him come back fresh next season, he's been an outstanding leader of the team on and off the field, with the ability to play in any position, and his combination of skill and toughness.”
Also speaking highly of O’Loughlin’s achievements and value to the side was his former International team mate and now the Rugby Football League’s Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield who continued to say the Wigan captain had made a;
“outstanding contribution to the national team” over the past 15 years and has “led from the front”.
“He has been integral to the squad's improvements and influenced so many, especially since we introduced the England Performance Unit after the 2017 World Cup. He has had a difficult year with injuries and he will be sorely missed in 2019 but his influence will remain.
“Both Wayne Bennett and Sean discussed and agreed that it was best for him to miss the tour this year.”
Not long after that announcement the news that 2018 Golden Boot winner and super leagues top try scorer Tommy Makinson would also be missing the tour after playing 38 minutes of the grand final with a dislocated shoulder.
“I dislocated my shoulder and popped it back in, but I think that's me sadly out until next year,” Makinson said.
“They wanted to bring me off but I'm not coming off, it's the Grand Final.
“Once it pops out, you're struggling, aren't you? There's usually a bit of damage. I'll get it scanned and see what it's like but I think I'll miss the tour.
“It's devastating. But it's only a little dislocation, six weeks. It is what it is. I'm still young. I'll crack on and get myself right and look to get in the England team next year.”
Makinson was considered a certainty for the tour after he bounced onto the world stage last season with a try scoring debut against New Zealand in Denver followed backing that up with an outstanding test series against the Kiwis in England last autumn that lead to him being named the International player of the year.