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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:27 UK

Sam Burgess freed for England game against France

Sam Burgess
Burgess is regarded as a future England captain and key to the side

Sam Burgess is free to play in England's match with France on 12 June after South Sydney decided to make him available for the match.

The Rabbitohs had wanted Burgess to be available for their game with Brisbane that weekend but have had a change of heart over the former Bradford forward.

That means Burgess can play in the first England game under new coach Steve McNamara, his old Bulls coach.

Gareth Ellis is also available as his Wests Tigers team have the weekend off.

According to the rules, international matches have precedence over club matches when there is a conflict over selection, as Leeds and Wigan discovered two years ago when they were forced to release Brent Webb and Thomas Leuluai for the mid-season Anzac Test.


The availability of Burgess and Ellis will be a boost for McNamara, as he is keen to field the strongest team possible in England's only home match before the end-of-season Four Nations series in Australia and New Zealand.

"Sam and Gareth are important parts of our plans, both for this game and this year's Four Nations and beyond," said McNamara.

"We are about to embark on an exciting journey culminating in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and the match against France is a significant juncture in our development."

Burgess is also a potential England captain after it was confirmed Jamie Peacock will miss the match with a knee injury, although vice-captain Adrian Morley is favourite to lead the side.

McNamara will reveal his 19-man squad for the game on 1 June.

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see also
Peacock set to miss England match
18 May 10 |  Rugby League
Leeds 26-16 Warrington
14 May 10 |  My Club
Squad can fill Myler void - Smith
11 May 10 |  Warrington
Huddersfield 4-60 Warrington
08 May 10 |  Rugby League
McNamara lands England coach post
21 Apr 10 |  Rugby League
Burgess suffers loss on NRL debut
14 Mar 10 |  Rugby League
Burgess excited by NRL challenge
14 Dec 09 |  Rugby League
Burgess makes switch to Australia
29 Sep 09 |  Bradford

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