Ben Currie and Alex Walmsley named in England's Rugby League World Cup squad
Last Updated: 09/10/17 1:30pm
Uncapped duo Ben Currie and Alex Walmsley have been named in England’s 24-man squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Wayne Bennett's squad includes Man of Steel winner Luke Gale and will be captained by Sean O'Loughlin.
Jonny Lomax has been recalled to the squad, with Zak Hardaker missing out after his failed drugs test.
Lomax was arguably England's best performer in the 2016 Four Nations series, but missed the game against Samoa in Sydney through injury, when Bennett opted to play Warrington utility player Stefan Ratchford at full-back, with Hardaker chosen at centre.
Wigan's Sam Tomkins made a strong push for a recall after being dropped from the elite training squad during his injury-hit start to the year, but his club's failure to make the play-off semi-finals denied him one last chance to impress.
Lomax's Saints team-mate, hooker James Roby, has been recalled after a two-year absence, getting the nod ahead of Daryl Clark and Paul McShane after producing a strong finish to the season.
There is no place for South Sydney prop George Burgess but his brothers Sam and Tom are included, along with five other NRL-based players.
Bennett has opted to take 14 forwards and just 10 backs, including only two specialist wingers in Ryan Hall and Jermaine McGillvary.
England will fly out of Manchester on Thursday for a 10-day camp in Perth and will play a warm-up match against an Affiliated States team on Friday, October 20, to prepare for their opening group game against holders Australia in Melbourne a week later.
England's World Cup squad: John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), Mark Percival (St Helens), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), James Roby (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons) George Williams (Wigan Warriors).