England hope to avoid row over Burgess

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The Independent Online

England are ready to go into their international against France on 12 June without Sam Burgess, after deciding not to force the issue with his club, South Sydney. The former Bradford forward would normally be an automatic selection, but Souths want him for their game against Brisbane the same day.

The RFL would have the backing of the game's International Federation if they insisted on Burgess travelling. "We will be encouraging Souths to release him," said the federation's chairman, Colin Love. "It is in players' contracts that they must be available for internationals."

Despite that, the RFL are likely to do without Burgess and his fellow English exile, Gareth Ellis, rather then provoke an international row.

Oldham are racing against time to have their new home ground ready for its first game. The Championship One club are due to move into the Whitebank Stadium in the town for this Sunday's fixture against York.

An RFL inspection this week, however, revealed that work remains to be done before the ground meets minimum standards. The work includes finishing the away dressing rooms and a fence around the pitch.

The Oldham chairman, Chris Hamilton, said that he was "very hopeful" that the work would be completed in time for another inspection tomorrow.

The founder members of the League have been without a home since their ground-sharing deal with Oldham Athletic expired at the end of last season.

Matt Orford is out of Bradford's Challenge Cup tie against Leigh tomorrow night, after failing to recover from his shoulder injury. He is replaced by the recent signing from Castleford, Cain Southernwood.

Huddersfield will be without David Fa'alogo for their tie against Warrington following a hamstring injury in training.