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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

England omit Gardner and McGuire

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Date: Saturday, 15 November Kick-off: 0855 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky Sports 2; Live text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights on BBC Sport website, BBC Red Button and BBC One, Saturday 1300 GMT

England duo Ade Gardner (left) and Danny McGuire have been left out of the 19-man squad
Gardner (left) and McGuire had been widely tipped to return

Ade Gardner and Danny McGuire have been left out of England's preliminary 19-man squad ahead of Saturday's World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

St Helens winger Gardner and Leeds half-back McGuire had been widely expected to be recalled for the match.

Lee Smith and Mark Calderwood play on the wings, while Mickey Higham starts at hooker with James Roby on the bench.

The BBC understands England coach Tony Smith may yet tweak his squad ahead of the game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

He has until an hour before kick-off to name his final 17 and could call upon players not selected in the initial 19-man line-up.

The only player who will not be considered is prop Maurie Fa'asavalu, who is out of the tournament with a broken hand. Bradford duo Paul Sykes and Jamie Langley are the other two players from the 24-man squad not included in the 19.

McGuire and Gardner both played in England's opening two games of the World Cup but were rested for the 36-24 defeat against New Zealand last Saturday.


They were both expected to return, with Gardner, Super League's top tryscorer in 2008, telling the media on Tuesday how much he was looking forward to the challenge of lining up against Kiwi winger Manu Vatuvei, who scored four tries in last weekend's win.

Before naming his squad, Smith said he was confident England could reverse last weekend's defeat and reach the World Cup final.

"Some of our players probably haven't shown as much as they can produce," he said. "We're looking forward to them doing that.

"It's three games into the tournament and we'd like the players who haven't performed so far to do it in game four and I've got no doubt that they will.

"It's a chance for them to put their best foot forward and show the world what they can do.

"I don't think we've done that as a squad entirely. Some individuals have but we want to do it as a team."

Rob Purdham in action for England
Purdham was impressive against New Zealand last weekend

Leeds second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Harlequins loose forward Rob Purdham are named in the starting XIII after making their tournament debuts against the Kiwis.

Warrington forward Ben Westwood also played in that defeat and is named as one of six replacements - a number that must eventually be reduced to four.

Martin Gleeson moves from stand-off to his more familiar position of centre to partner Keith Senior again, while Leon Pryce, who has been nursing a rib injury, is recalled alongside Rob Burrow in the half-backs.

England retain the same front row that played against New Zealand last weekend but James Graham and Jon Wilkin, who did not play against the Kiwis, are both among the six replacements.

Full-back Paul Wellens had been an injury doubt with an ankle problem but Smith is prepared to give the St Helens star as much time as possible to prove his fitness.

If Wellens failed to recover from his injury then Smith would probably be switched to full-back, with Gardner taking his place on the wing.

As for Higham, he gets the nod ahead of Roby after being one of the few success stories in the loss to New Zealand.

England: Paul Wellens; Mark Calderwood, Martin Gleeson, Keith Senior, Lee Smith; Leon Pryce, Rob Burrow; Adrian Morley, Mickey Higham, Jamie Peacock (captain); Gareth Ellis, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Rob Purdham.
Replacements (two to be omitted): James Graham, Ben Westwood, James Roby, Kevin Sinfield, Jon Wilkin, Gareth Hock.

see also
Jon Wilkin column
13 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith loses Aussie referee battle
12 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England 24-36 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Prop Fa'asavalu out of World Cup
06 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith left humbled by record loss
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 52-4 England
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith demands England improvement
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
England 32-22 Papua New Guinea
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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