Rugby League World Cup: Sam Burgess returns for quarter-final
|Rugby League World Cup: England v Papua New Guinea|
|Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne|
|Date: Sunday, 18 November Time: 05:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Two and online, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website|
England forward Sam Burgess has recovered from knee ligament damage to face Papua New Guinea in Sunday’s Rugby League World Cup quarter-final.
The 28-year-old was forced off in the first half of the team’s tournament-opening 18-4 defeat by Australia.
He was not expected to return before the semi-finals on 24-25 November.
Burgess comes in for Cronulla forward Chris Heighington while winger Jermaine McGillvary has recovered from an ankle injury to make the starting line-up.
Gareth Widdop retains the full-back jersey as Jonny Lomax continues to struggle with a calf strain.
Hooker Josh Hodgson is recalled after being rested for the 36-6 win over France in England’s final group game. James Roby is on the bench.
Coach Wayne Bennett suggested Burgess – whose brother Tom is on the bench – may not take on his usual workload before a potential semi-final against either Tonga or Lebanon.
“Sam brings a lot but right now his priority is to play well and not worry about the team. The team has been playing well without him.
“If he is playing on the edge it is not as demanding physically as it is in the middle so he might be able to get through the whole game or he might not. It is not a real issue in the first half, it’s something for the second half.”
Papua New Guinea – unbeaten so far in the tournament after group wins over Wales, Ireland and the United States – include wing Garry Lo, who will move to Castleford from Sheffield Eagles next season.
England: Widdop; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Brown, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, S Burgess, Whitehead, O’Loughlin (capt). Interchange: Walmsley, T Burgess, Currie, Roby.
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