Sam Tomkins left out of England squad for World Cup

Sam Tomkins

Sam Tomkins won the Man of Steel award in 2012

Wigan’s Sam Tomkins has missed out on a place in England’s 24-man squad for the Rugby League World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Castleford Tigers’ Zak Hardaker, who like Tomkins could have played at full-back, is also not selected, after he tested positive for cocaine.

Warrington forward Ben Currie and St Helens prop Alex Walmsley – both of whom are uncapped – are called up.

Hooker James Roby returns after a two-year absence from the team.

Wigan loose forward Sean O’Loughlin captains a squad featuring seven NRL-based players, including South Sydney Rabbitohs duo Sam and Tom Burgess.

James Graham and Gareth Widdop of the St George Illawarra Dragons, Canberra Raiders pair Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead, and Cronulla Sharks’ Chris Heighington are also included.

England head coach Wayne Bennett said: “The competitiveness of Super League and NRL, and knowing the goal of playing for your country in a World Cup, has made many raise their game and become better athletes.

“The England programme has been very active leading into this tournament and having the squad meet up on regular occasions – on and off the field – has put us in a positive place before everyone gets into camp.”

All of England’s matches will be broadcast live on BBC TV, radio and online.

Full squad: John Bateman, Kevin Brown, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, Ben Currie, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Heighington, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Mike McMeeken, Sean O’Loughlin, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, James Roby, Scott Taylor, Alex Walmsley, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

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