Dewsbury trio set to face Australia in World Cup opener

Tom and Sam Burgess will line up for England against Australia tomorrow alongside debutant and fellow Dewsbury lad Alex Walmsley
Tom and Sam Burgess will line up for England against Australia tomorrow alongside debutant and fellow Dewsbury lad Alex Walmsley

DEWSBURY will be represented by three players on duty for England in the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup when they face Australia in Melbourne tomorrow (Friday).

Alex Walmsley — who began his career at Dewsbury Celtic — is set to make his England debut after he was selected on the bench.

The 27-year-old is joined in the squad by fellow Dewsbury lads Sam and Tom Burgess, who started off as juniors with Dewsbury Moor and now ply their trade with South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL.

Walmsley pulled on an England jersey for the first time in last Friday’s warm-up match against a Combined Affiliated States side in Perth, which saw them run out convincing 74-12 winners.

Speaking after last week’s warm-up game, Walmsley said: “It was a proud moment (pulling on the England shirt). It doesn’t count as a cap yet but it was good to get the jersey on and to represent my country.

“You do not feel part of a team fully until you go out on the field with the boys and I got to do that (last week) and enjoyed the experience.”

Walmsley came in for praise having been singled out for some big hits by the Australian States side and admitted he enjoyed facing up to the challenge.

He added: “You can’t go into a Test game against Australia without having taken a few hits and it was good to get a few.

“You can only go so far in training and you need real opposition in front of you who will throw unpredictable things at you and they (Combined States) did that.”

Dual-code international Sam Burgess is confident England can be a force to be reckoned with at the World Cup and the 28-year-old will earn an 18th Test cap tomorrow.

Burgess said: “We’ve got a good chance but it’s down to how hard we want to work when it gets hard on the field.

“The mood is great. The boys are relaxed. We’ve trained extremely hard and prepared very well so we’re looking forward to what’s going to be a great start to the World Cup.

“It will be a physical game against Australia and we are more than ready.”

Tom Burgess scored two tries in last week’s win over the Combined States and takes his place on the bench tomorrow alongside debutant Walmsley to make his 15th England Test appearance.