World Cup Nines: James Graham to captain England
By PA Media
Last Updated: 07/10/19 10:29am
Former St Helens forward James Graham will captain England in the World Cup Nines in Sydney later this month.
The St George Illawarra Dragons prop is one of six NRL-based players in the 16-strong squad, with the rest coming from Super League.
Eleven of the party will stay on in the southern hemisphere to take part in the four-match Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, including Castleford Tigers half-back Jake Trueman.
Graham, 34, who won five Great Britain caps in 2006-7 and first captained England in 2010, is joined in the Nines squad by former Wigan Warriors prop Ryan Sutton and his Canberra Raiders team-mate Elliott Whitehead.
There is also a call-up in both the Nines and the Lions squads for former Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall - England's record try-scorer who now plays for Sydney Roosters - Warrington Wolves-bound Gareth Widdop and Tom Burgess but there is no place for ex-Leeds captain Kallum Watkins, now with Gold Coast Titans.
Canberra-bound stand-off George Williams is the only Wigan player in the Nines squad, which does not include any of the players from Super League Grand Finalists Salford Red Devils and St Helens.
It has been confirmed that Warrington pair Daryl Clark and Jack Hughes, Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary and Hull FC utility back Jake Connor will also stay on for the Great Britain tour.
Sam Tomkins, Reece Lyne, Ash Handley and Liam Watts have been placed on standby for the Lions, with the full 24-man touring party to be announced on Monday week, two days after the Super League Grand Final.
A number of other players, including the Canberra pair of John Bateman and Josh Hodgson plus Warrington stand-off Blake Austin, were not considered for the Nines because of injury but are expected to be available for the Great Britain tour.
England have been drawn in the same group as Wales for the inaugural Nines tournament, which will be played at the new Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, on October 18 and 19.
England squad: James Graham, Gareth Widdop (both St George Illawarra Dragons), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark, Jack Hughes (both Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Elliot Whitehead, Ryan Sutton (both Canberra Raiders), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Jake Trueman, Liam Watts (both Castleford Tigers), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).