England have made three changes from the 19-man squad they selected against Australia for their second match of Rugby League World Cup 2013 against Ireland at a sell-out John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, on Saturday (November 2, 2.00pm).
Coach Steve McNamara has not selected Wigan Warriors pair Joshua Charnley and Lee Mossop and South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess is suspended.
Wigan loose forward Sean O’Loughlin, Canterbury Bulldogs forward James Graham and Hull FC winger Tom Briscoe are all drafted into the 19 and will be hoping to feature in the starting line-up.
“We have made a slight adjustment to the squad this week,” said McNamara, who will be hoping his team record their first win of the tournament after losing their opener against Australia 28-20 last week in Cardiff.
“We have one forced with the suspension of Sam Burgess. It gives us a chance to look at a couple of other members of the squad this. It suits us to have a consistent selection from last week with a couple of tweaks.
“We have 24 very good players and the additions to the squad this week, Tom Briscoe, James Graham and Sean O’Loughlin, will give us some impetus and freshness in the team.
“Josh Charnley did fine last week. He has a slight shoulder niggle so the rest will do him no harm. The competition for places amongst the wingers is very fierce and Tom Briscoe has done extremely well in training. He will be given a chance to make an impact.
“Lee Mossop came on at difficult period in the game last week and he tried his best in what was a tough match against Australia. I just wanted to slightly change things around and go with some different personnel.
“It is a positive to have Sean O’Loughlin available for selection. He is valued by the group and we understand the qualities he brings to the squad. He is fit and looking forward to it. Having him available gives us a new dimension to the forward pack with great depth across all positions.
“Ireland will be very good. They have quality in the side from the Super League and the NRL. They will be better for their performance against Fiji and if we take them lightly we will come unstuck.
“This is a huge game, a full international, with lots at stake. It has the makings of being an absolute belter. We have a full-house at Huddersfield, which is a great statement for the sport and there will be passion in the stands for both sides.
“We have to be ready to play. We learnt that lesson the hard way two weeks ago against Italy. We certainly won’t be making the same mistake again.
“After a physical game against Australia, we have recovered hard and very well. The players are well aware of what is at stake. The next five weeks are the biggest of our careers. We are ready to do the nation proud.
“The Rugby League World Cup has captured the imagination of the sporting public and it is an honour to be part of it. For once, the sport is firmly part of national consciousness and the amount of support we are generating is phenomenal. It is very satisfying to be at the centre of it.”
The England 19-man squad to face Ireland at John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday November 2 2013 (2.30pm) is as follows:
Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Parkside)
Tom Briscoe (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions)
George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers, Dannevirke Tigers)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers)
James Graham (Canterbury Bulldog, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Kevin Sinfield (captain) (Leeds Rhinos, Waterhead)
Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves, Normanton Knights)
Gareth Widdop (Melbourne Storm, King Cross)