O'Loughlin out, Briscoe in

England must do without injured Wigan skipper for entire Four Nations

Last updated: 20th October 2009  

O'Loughlin out, Briscoe in

Briscoe: beneficiary of O'Loughlin injury

We have plenty of strength in our forwards and adequate coverage in the pack so there was no need to bring in a replacement forward.

Tony Smith
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Tom Briscoe has been called into England's squad for the Gillette Four Nations following an injury to Sean O'Loughlin.

O'Loughlin cracked a bone in his thumb during the closing stages of his England debut in last Saturday's 48-12 victory over Wales in Bridgend.

X-rays subsequently confirmed the break, forcing the Wigan captain to sit out the entire Four Nations tournament.

It is the latest in a string of injuries to hamper O'Loughlin's international career - he pulled out of last year's World Cup with a shoulder injury and missed the mid-season match against France in Paris with a cut knee.

"Sean is pretty devastated and we are sorry that he won't be with us during the Gillette Four Nations," said England coach Tony Smith.

"He's had a bad run of luck with injuries when it comes to international rugby league.

"We really missed him in the World Cup and a cut knee meant he wasn't available for the game against France in Paris earlier this year either. We feel for him."

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O'Loughlin has been replaced by Hull's teenage winger Tom Briscoe, who marked his England bow with two tries in Bridgend.

He had been on stand-by for the Four Nations and has now joined the other 23 players in the England squad preparing for Friday's opener with France at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.

O'Loughlin was set to have a wide-running role during the tournament and Smith is confident in Briscoe's ability to plug the gap.

"We have plenty of strength in our forwards and adequate coverage in the pack so there was no need to bring in a replacement forward," said Smith.

"This is a great opportunity for Tom. He had a strong display on Saturday night and I'm sure he's going to make a very positive contribution to our Four Nations plans."