By STEVE MASCORD
ENGLAND has given up on bringing home NRL stars Sam Burgess, Gareth Ellis and Gareth Widdop for June’s Exiles clash.
Ellis and Burgess had been quoted in the UK as saying they wanted to play against the line-up of Aussies and Kiwis at Headingley on June 10 but in a statement to Rugby League Week, England coach Steve McNamara says they won’t be selected.
“Although played under international rules, the International Origin match is not an RLIF-sanctioned fixture and the criteria that applied to last year’s mid-season England v France fixture do not apply,” McNamara said.
“Contrary to comments made in Australia last week, we didn’t need permission to bring our NRL-based players across last June because it was a full international so we simply selected them and they flew home.
“The three players who came across last year have all said they would love to be involved in the International Origin game but we are unwilling to put undue pressure on them to make themselves available.
“As much as we’d love to have Gareth Ellis, Sam Burgess and Gareth Widdop here to face the Exiles, we are content to let them remain with their NRL clubs.”
It’s understood the NRL was prepared to support its clubs if the Rugby Football League had attempted to bring them back for the Exiles game. Members of the public will get to vote for the Exiles squad in much the same way they pick the NRL and Indigenous All Stars in Australia.
Danny Buderus has been named captain (see interview, page 36)
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK