Rugby League World Cup: Steve McNamara names England squad for Italy warm-up
Last Updated: 19/10/13 1:53pm
Steve McNamara: Looking forward to facing Italy
England coach Steve McNamara has named 20 of his 24-man World Cup squad in the team to face Italy in the first senior international between the two nations in Salford on Saturday.
The warm-up clash is not an official Test match as both sides will play a minimum 20 players with unlimited interchange but McNamara sees it as ideal preparation before taking on Australia in the opening game of the World Cup in Cardiff next week.
"We are delighted to be playing against Italy in the historic international," said McNamara.
"This is the first time that both nations have played each other at this level and it should be ideal preparation before we take on Australia a week later in the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup 2013 in Cardiff.
"Italy have made tremendous progress and are well equipped with quality players representing them from the NRL and Super League.
"The make-up of the side looks very exciting, with the right blend of youth and experience. There is a great opportunity for the players to really push on and stake a claim for a start against Australia the following week.
"Our preparation has been first-class we have trained exceptionally well at our camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa. This is the best prepared side to come from England and we are ready for what promises to be the most competitive World Cup in history."
Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood is suspended, while Wigan Warriors loose forward Sean O'Loughlin has been rested.
England: S Tomkins, R Hall, C Ablett, L Cudjoe, T Briscoe, R Chase, K Sinfield (capt), J Graham, M McIlorum, L Mossop, G Hock, L Farrell, S Burgess
Interchange: J Charnley, K Watkins, G Widdop, R Burrow, C Hill, J Roby, G Burgess