England forward Gareth Hock thrown out of Rugby League World Cup; Brett Ferres in
Last Updated: 24/10/13 1:14pm
Gareth Hock: World Cup dream in tatters
England forward Gareth Hock's international future was cast in doubt on Tuesday night when he was thrown out of the World Cup.
The 30-year-old second rower was sent home from England's training camp at Loughborough University after what officials described as 'serious breaches' of team discipline.
A statement said: "As a result of serious breaches of team discipline that have fallen below the strict code of conduct as agreed by team management, Gareth Hock has been withdrawn from the England Rugby League World Cup squad with immediate effect."
His place in coach Steve McNamara's 24-man squad was taken by Huddersfield's Brett Ferres.
McNamara anticipates tough World Cup
Hock's departure is another body blow to England's hopes, following so soon after the embarrassment of the weekend defeat to Italy in a warm-up match.
Hock, who won the last of his eight caps against France in the final of the 2012 autumn international series, was in the England team that lost 15-14 to Italy and was firmly in contention to face Australia in the opening World Cup match on Saturday.
It is not the first time the Wigan-born forward has jeopardised his career. In June 2009 he tested positive for cocaine following tests on a sample of urine taken during a match between Wigan and Salford and was handed the mandatory two-year ban.
Wigan stood by their player and in May 2011 he signed a new contract taking him to the end of 2015. He made a high profile return against Huddersfield towards the end of the 2011 Super League season and regained his England place last season.
Hock then went through a public fall-out with his club at the end of the international series and joined Widnes on a season-long loan deal.
In May he was handed a four-game ban for making deliberate contact with referee George Stokes in a Challenge Cup-tie against Workington. It followed a similar incident in 2008.
Australia labelled favourites
Hock had a month earlier signed a two-year contract with Australian club Parramatta Eels, starting in 2014, but subsequently pulled out of the move when his partner became pregnant and instead he agreed to join Salford.
Hock's removal paves the way for Ferres to make his England debut.
The 27-year-old former Bradford, Wakefield and Castleford second rower was not in McNamara's elite training squad at the start of the year but forced his way into contention on the back on a hugely-impressive first full season with Huddersfield.
Ferres, who played a key role in the Giants topping the table for the first time for 81 years, played in England's mid-season game against the Exiles and was named in the 2013 Super League Dream Team.
He did not make McNamara's 24-strong World Cup squad but impressed the coach when playing for England Knights in their 52-16 win over Samoa at Salford last Saturday and remained on stand-by with the squad in Loughborough.
Ferres is unlikely to play against Australia but will hope to win his first cap in the group matches against either Ireland or Fiji.