Castleford’s Gale chosen for England’s World Cup opener

Luke Gale

Castleford Tigers half-back Luke Gale has been selected to start England’s opening Rugby League World Cup match against Australia on Friday.

Gale is the only player from the League Leaders’ Shield winners to make the side with Tigers team-mate Mike McMeeken left out of the squad.

Man of Steel Gale will partner St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop in the halves while England coach Wayne Bennett has been able to name a strong line-up in the forwards, including the vastly experienced Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Burgess and James Graham.

Melbourne full-back Billy Slater will return to the Australian team for the first time in 30 months, while Storm forward Jordan McLean and Cronulla utility Wade Graham have been chosen to make their Test debuts in Friday opening match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The England team is:

1 Jonny Lomax

2 Jermaine McGillvary

3 Kallum Watkins

4 John Bateman

5 Ryan Hall

6 Gareth Widdop

7 Luke Gale

8 Chris Hill

9 Josh Hodgson

10 James Graham

11 Sam Burgess

12 Elliott Whitehead

13 Sean O’loughlin (C)

14 Alex Walmsley

15 Chris Heighington

16 Thomas Burgess

17 James Roby

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