England fans livid at Heighington's cup selection

Chris Heighington's selection in the England World Cup squad has ruffled the feathers of many fans.
Chris Heighington's selection in the England World Cup squad has ruffled the feathers of many fans. CRAIG GOLDING

RUGBY LEAGUE: Wayne Bennett's England squad for the 2017 World Cup is making some serious waves in Britain after the controversial exclusion of Sam Tomkins and George Burgess, and the selection of veteran Cronulla forward Chris Heighington.

Bennett has named a 24-man squad, including six NRL players, but overlooked Rabbitohs prop Burgess after the big man endured a difficult season for the Rabbitohs.

Twin brother Tom and older brother Sam were picked and will form the cornerstone of a powerful forward pack along with Sean O'Loughlin, James Graham, Elliott Whitehead and Mike McMeeken.

St Helens forward Alex Walmsley also made the cut, but some English fans are livid at the inclusion of Heighington.

The 35-year old made a return to Test football earlier this season for the match against Samoa, six years after his last international.

Wigan fullback Tomkins was overlooked, continuing his three-year Test football drought.

Tomkins has played just 16 matches in two seasons for Wigan since returning to the club in 2016 and Zak Hardaker's provisional drugs ban means Warrington's Stefan Ratchford and St Helens flier Jonny Lomax will duke it out for fullback duties.

Lomax played at the back during the Four Nations but Ratchford got the nod for England's last Test in May of this year.

Minor premiers Castleford, who fell short in last week's grand final against Leeds, has just two players in the squad - Man of Steel winner Luke Gale and behemoth back-rower McMeeken.

Warrington back-rower Ben Currie and Walmsley are the sole debutants and veteran hooker James Roby has been named in his first England squad since 2015.

O'Loughlin will captain England which opens the tournament against Australia at AAMI Park on October 27.

THE SQUAD: John Bateman (Wigan), Kevin Brown (Warrington), Sam Burgess and Thomas Burgess (both South Sydney), Ben Currie (Warrington), Luke Gale (Castleford), James Graham (St George), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Chris Heighington (Cronulla), Chris Hill (Warrington), Josh Hodgson (Canberra), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Mike McMeeken (Castleford), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan, captain), Mark Percival (St Helens), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington), James Roby (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra), Gareth Widdop (St George), George Williams (Wigan).

Topics:  england rugby league team wayne bennett

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