10th October 2019, 09:00 | englandrl
Blake Austin has been called into the England squad for the Downer World Cup Nines in Sydney, replacing his Warrington Wolves team-mate Jack Hughes.
Hughes has a groin injury, although he remains hopeful of proving his fitness to join the four-match Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea which follows the Nines.
Austin, who was born in Australia and has made a major impact in the Betfred Super League since joining Warrington from Canberra Raiders last winter, made himself available for England and Great Britain earlier this year after proving his eligibility through his family lineage.
Hughes, who captained England Knights in Papua New Guinea last autumn, was one of 11 members of the England Nines squad who have also been selected for the Great Britain squad – with the remaining 13 to be named on Monday, after the Betfred Super League Grand Final.
England Women have also lost a member of their 16-strong squad for the four-team Women’s Nines competition that will run alongside the men’s at the Bankwest Stadium.
The Leeds Rhinos forward Shannon Lacey has been ruled out after suffering a head injury during last Sunday’s dramatic victory at St Helens in the Betfred Women’s Super League semi final – meaning she will also miss Friday night’s Grand Final against Castleford Tigers at the Totally Wicked Stadium, although she remains hopeful of recovering in time to join England’s two-Test tour of Papua New Guinea later this month.
England hope to announce a replacement for Lacey in the Nines squad shortly, depending on securing visa clearance.
Both the Men's and Women's squads will fly to Sydney on Saturday, and play their first matches next Friday [October 18] before the bulk of their competitions are played on Saturday October 19 - with all matches shown live on Sky.
Revised England squads for the Downer World Cup Nines
Men: James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons, captain), Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves), Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Ryan Sutton (Canberra Raiders), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Liam Watts (Castleford Tigers), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).
Women: Dannielle Anderson (Leeds), Caitlin Beevers (Leeds), Leah Burke (St Helens), Chantelle Crowl (St Helens), Jodie Cunningham (St Helens), Faye Gaskin (St Helens), Kelsey Gentles (Castleford), Amy Hardcastle (Bradford), Shona Hoyle (St Helens), Rhiannion Marshall (Castleford), Sinead Peach (Castleford), Georgia Roche (Castleford), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Tara-Jane Stanley (Castleford), Naomi Williams (St Helens).