• Rugby League

England call up history-making Burgess trio

ESPN staff
October 2, 2013
Three of the four Burgess brothers have been called up by Steve McNamara © Getty Images

England have called up a trio of brothers for the first time after coach Steve McNamara named George Burgess, Tom Burgess and Sam Burgess in the 24-man squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Twins George and Tom are the only uncapped players in the squad, but fourth sibling Luke Burgess suffered heartbreak after McNamara did not give him the nod.

The trio are based in Australia and play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, having started their careers at Bradford. However, McNamara justified his decision to choose three brothers and believes they will add plenty to his squad.

"Luke will be disappointed, but I'm sure he'll be happy that three of the four are included," McNamara told BBC Radio 5 live. "It would have been a fairy tale if all four [brothers] were involved, but it's not my job to do that.

"George, right from the start, has been sensational. He's blossomed. Tom has pretty much been the same. All three will bring a lot to the squad."

England will aim to become the first nation to win a World Cup on home soil since Great Britain in 1972. Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield will lead the side, while Sean O'Loughlin has also been included in the squad despite being injured.

"Sean is so important to the group and we wanted to give him every opportunity to be fit," McNamara said. "I'm very confident he will be fit."

McNamara's squad begin against Australia in Cardiff on October 26 before facing Ireland on November 2 in Huddersfield. Their final Group A fixture will be on November 9, when they take on Fiji in Hull.

New Zealand are reigning champions.

England squad: Carl Ablett (Leeds), Tom Briscoe (Hull), George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess (all South Sydney), Rob Burrow (Leeds), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Liam Farrell (Wigan), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Chris Hill (Warrington), Gareth Hock (Widnes), Michael McIlorum (Wigan), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, capt), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne).

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