Fielden axed from World Cup party

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The Independent Online

Wigan prop Stuart Fielden is the big omission from England coach Tony Smith's 24-man squad for the World Cup in Australia.

There are surprise call-ups for back-row forwards Jamie Langley (Bradford) and Rob Purdham (Harlequins) while, as expected, Leeds utility back Lee Smith played his way into the squad with his match-winning Grand Final performance.



The Rhinos provide 15 of the 24 players to make the cut as Smith sticks to his pledge to select the men in form, with second-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan one of eight Leeds players chosen.



Jones-Buchanan is among eight back-row forwards, some of who may have to play in the front row following Smith's surprise decision to tour with just four specialist props in Jamie Peacock, who will skipper the side, Adrian Morley, James Graham and Maurie Fa'asavalu.



Fielden was a regular for Great Britain throughout his Bradford career but, after being dropped for last year's Test series against New Zealand, played his way back into contention with a strong finish to the season with Wigan and was named in the train-on squad.



There is a place for Fielden's team-mate, Gareth Hock, while winger Mark Calderwood and hooker Mickey Higham, who have left Wigan for Hull and Warrington respectively, also make the squad despite missing out earlier in the year.



Calderwood displaces Hull KR winger Peter Fox, who is the solitary player dropped from the side that beat France 56-8 in June, while Langley and centre Paul Sykes are back in the international scene after making debuts against France in the summer of 2007.



In an experienced-looking squad, there is no place for Castleford's teenage loose forward Joe Westerman, who missed the end of the Super League season through injury.



Only Calderwood, Purdham, Smith and Ben Westwood have not played a full international but all four have represented England at second-tier level, with Purdham captaining them to a Federation Shield triumph two years ago.

England's squad for the World Cup:

Keith Senior, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock (captain), Gareth Ellis, Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Lee Smith (all Leeds), Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Leon Pryce, James Graham, James Roby, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Jon Wilkin (all St Helens), Rob Purdham (Harlequins), Mark Calderwood, Mickey Higham, Gareth Hock (all Wigan), Martin Gleeson, Adrian Morley, Ben Westwood (all Warrington), Jamie Langley, Paul Sykes (both Bradford).

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