Sam Burgess, Kallum Watkins and Stevie Ward will miss Great Britain’s tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea later this month. England forward Burgess requires surgery after aggravating a shoulder problem while playing for South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL play-offs in September and the 30-year-old has now been ruled out of the Great Britain tour of the southern hemisphere.
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Leeds Rhinos’ Stevie Ward misses out due to a hamstring problem and Gold Coast Titans centre Kallum Watkins has been ruled out with a rib injury. It will be Great Britain’s first series for 12 years and Rugby Football League rugby director Kevin Sinfield, who has chaired the selection panel, says the trio are all disappointed they will not be involved.
He said: “It’s disappointing to lose players, and they are all gutted to be out of contention for the tour. “The reaction we’ve had from all players is overwhelmingly positive about the return of GB, and that was the case for Kallum, Stevie and especially Sam, as he’s one of the few guys in contention to have played for Great Britain previously. “But injuries happen, they test your strength in depth, and they provide opportunities to others.” England are due to play New Zealand twice, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, with the 23-man squad set to be announced on October 14.