Lunt adds an England call-up to his rapid rise

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The Independent Online

The huddersfield pair, Kevin Brown and Shaun Lunt, have been given a belated call-up to the England squad for Saturday's game against France.

The two have been brought into the squad's camp near Manchester as cover for Leeds' Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield, who both took knocks to the knee at the weekend.

They had scans yesterday and a decision will be made today on their fitness.

"The two newcomers will provide cover in all the positions involved," said the England coach, Steve McNamara, who included the two Giants players after they shone in the victory over his Bradford side on Sunday.

Lunt, a specialist hooker, will only start if McGuire and James Roby – who needs to pass a "head test" after being concussed at the weekend – are both ruled out.

His rise from the third tier of the professional game to the national squad, however, is already a meteoric one.

"Two years ago, I was playing for Workington Town and now I'm on the verge of playing for England," he said.

Lunt admitted that it was the end of an emotional week for him. Garry Purdham, the ex-player killed in Cumbria last Wednesday, was a team-mate for three years at Workington and "a great bloke," Lunt said.

Brown, the former Wigan stand-off, has also had a significant week, during which he has agreed a five-year contract extension, putting paid to rumours that he could be on his way back to Wigan, or to Australia to play in the NRL. Two Englishmen who are playing in that elite competition, Gareth Ellis and Gareth Widdop, have already arrived to join up with the rest of the squad. The third expatriate, Sam Burgess, will arrive tomorrow after playing for South Sydney yesterday.

The Wigan coach, Michael Maguire, will consider playing their three England players – Sam and Joel Tomkins and Sean O'Loughlin – at Wakefield, less than 24 hours after the international at Leigh.

France have suffered a major injury blow for the game with the withdrawal of the Catalan Dragons' half-back, Thomas Bosc, with a dead leg.

Castleford will be without their captain, Andy Lynch, for a month following knee surgery.

Cas's Ryan McGoldrick and Michael Platt of Bradford will appear at today's disciplinary hearing charged with offences in the weekend's round of games.