World Cup Nines: James Graham named England captain for October tournament

St George Illawarra Dragons prop James Graham is England's most capped player

St George Illawarra Dragons prop James Graham will captain England in this month’s World Cup Nines in Sydney.

The Nines tournament on 18-19 October comes ahead of November’s Great Britain Lions four-match tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The 34-year-old, England’s most capped player, is one of 11 members of the 16-man squad to be part of the Lions tour.

For the first time England will field men’s and women’s teams in the same Nines tournament.

England’s men’s side have been drawn in a qualifying group with Wales, France and Lebanon, however only the winners progress to the semi-finals.

England Women, who announced their squad in August, will play in a four-team tournament with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, the top two of which go straight to the final.

Graham, is joined in the squad by five other Australia-based players along with Dragons team-mate Gareth Widdop, Canberra Raiders pair Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton, Sydney Roosters wing Ryan Hall and South Sydney prop Tom Burgess.

Ten members of the squad play in the Super League but players from Salford and St Helens, who play each other in the Super League Grand Final on 12 October, were not considered as the squad flies to Sydney on the morning of the Old Trafford showpiece.

England men’s squad: James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons – capt), Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Ryan Sutton (Canberra Raiders), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Liam Watts (Castleford Tigers), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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