SAM Tomkins is out of England’s World Cup squad after boss Wayne Bennett was at his most ruthless.
The Wigan star was thought to be in the reckoning for the full-back slot, especially after Zak Hardaker’s stupidity.
But Bennett has instead opted for St Helens’ Jonny Lomax and Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford to play the number one role.
Injuries are thought to be behind the decision, with Tomkins only shwing fleeting glimpses of the player he was before suffering two serious knee problems.
As SunSport revealed yesterday, Warrington’s Ben Currie and St Helens’ James Roby are in.
And Alex Walmsley has been given a chance, even though he flew all the way to Sydney for the warm-up win over Samoa, only to not feature.
Late season performances are believed to have sealed selections for Walmsley and Roby as Saints just missed out on a Grand Final place.
Bennett said: “Selecting the final 24 with the help of my coaching staff was tough and that was down to the effort and performances of many players throughout the season.
“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.
“We had to put the disappointment of the Four Nations behind us quickly and the meetings that followed that tournament set out what was required to be successful in the World Cup. Everyone has fully bought into this and we can’t wait to get started.”
All four of Bennett’s assistants – Denis Betts, Paul Anderson, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens – each picked their own 24-man party.
Then after talks with Bennett, they settled on a final squad, which was certain to attract criticism from fans.
Sam Burgess leads the Australian-based contingent of players and has been taking part in training sessions down under but brother George has missed out.
Australian-born Chris Heighington, who qualifies through his father, is also in after playing against Samoa.
Grand Final winners Leeds have two members of the squad, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall, meaning Stevie Ward is set to be named by Wales.
Mike McMeeken and Luke Gale are Castleford’s only representatives, while Warrington, who finished in the Qualifiers, have four players who made the cut.
Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper and George Burgess have missed out, along with Hull trio Liam Watts, Marc Sneyd and Danny Houghton.
England play favourites Australia, Lebanon and France in their group, but several countries, particularly Pacific islands Tonga and Samoa, have packed their squads with huge talents.
Bennett added: “This is shaping up to be a very competitive tournament.
“Squads are being confirmed now and it’s clear to see the spread of talent will add to some exciting games.”
ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD
Bateman (Wigan), Brown (Warrington), S Burgess, T Burgess (both South Sydney), Currie (Warrington), Gale (Castleford), Graham (St George-Illawarra), Hall (Leeds), Heighington (Cronulla), Hill (Warrington), Hodgson (Canberra), Lomax (St Helens), McGillvary (Huddersfield), McMeeken (Castleford), O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt), Percival (St Helens), Ratchford (Warrington), Roby (St Helens), Taylor (Hull), Walmsley (St Helens), Watkins (Leeds), Whitehead (Canberra), Widdop (St George-Illawarra), Williams (Wigan)
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