Graham returns for England

  • Last Updated: October 31 2013, 16:34 GMT

The loss of Sam Burgess for England's World Cup group A clash with the Irish on Saturday will be offset by the return of James Graham, according to Ireland's Canberra Raiders prop Brett White.

James Graham: Recalled by England
James Graham: Recalled by England

The 28-year-old Graham was left out of the side for England's opening game against Australia in Cardiff last Saturday but is set to win his 19th cap after being among three changes made by coach Steve McNamara to the side that lost 28-20 to the Kangaroos.

Graham, who is thought to have served an internal suspension for breaching the team's alcohol ban, is set to make his first England appearance for two years in front of a capacity crowd at Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium.

Also back in an England jersey will be Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin and Leeds-bound winger Tom Briscoe, with Wigan duo Lee Mossop and Josh Charnley the players to drop out, along with the suspended Burgess.

"You lose Sam Burgess but someone like James Graham comes in," said White, who has witnessed at close hand the impact made by both Englishmen in the NRL.

"You lose one world-class player and there's another one there. James Graham has without doubt been one of the best props in the NRL the last couple of years.

"I think he's about got everything. He's a ball-playing front row but he doesn't mind the hard work. He will roll his sleeves up. His workrate is fantastic."

Huddersfield second rower Brett Ferres and South Sydney props Tom and George Burgess keep their places after making their debuts at the Millennium Stadium while Mossop pays the price for being unable to make an impact from the bench.

"We have made a slight adjustment to the squad this week," said McNamara.

"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 week.

"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.

"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."

The return of O'Loughlin is a timely boost as England seek their first win of the tournament. He had an injury-disrupted end to the season with Wigan but still managed to play key roles in their victories in the Challenge Cup final and Super League Grand Final.

"It is a positive to have Sean O'Loughlin available for selection," McNamara said. "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."

Briscoe will win his 14th cap, but Charnley, who scored his 44th try of the year against Australia, is still regarded as a first-choice winger for his country.

McNamara said: "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."

Leeds hooker or half-back Rob Burrow and Wigan second rower Liam Farrell will both be hoping to force their way into the 17 after being the ones to be omitted a week ago.

England 19-man squad: C Ablett (Leeds), T Briscoe (Hull), G Burgess (South Sydney), T Burgess (South Sydney), R Burrow (Leeds), R Chase (Castleford), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), L Farrell (Wigan), B Ferres (Huddersfield), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), R Hall (Leeds), C Hill (Warrington), S O'Loughlin (Wigan), J Roby (St Helens), K Sinfield (Leeds, capt), S Tomkins (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), B Westwood (Warrington), G Widdop (Melbourne Storm).


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