Rugby League World Cup: Steve McNamara walks out of press conference after questions on James Graham absence on eve of England v Australia

McNamara refused to answer questions whether Graham had been dropped for taking part in a drinking session that saw Gareth Hock expelled from the squad

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England coach Steve McNamara cut short a press conference on the eve of his side's World Cup opening game after being quizzed over the non-selection of prop forward James Graham.

McNamara appeared tetchy throughout the six-minute conference at the Millennium Stadium, where England kick off the 14-team tournament against Australia on Saturday afternoon, and eventually walked out without answering the latest question.

The coach flatly refused to explain the absence of Graham from his 19-man squad, amid speculation that the former St Helens forward had been punished for taking part in a drinking session following last Saturday's defeat by Italy.

"There are seven very good players not playing this week," McNamara said. "I'm certainly not going to talk about any individuals among those seven."

McNamara grew increasingly agitated as the questions continued on the same line and said: "If you're going to carry on that that questioning, we might as well stop now."

He then went on to talk about the match against Australia but ended the session abruptly when asked about the situation regarding Gareth Hock, who was expelled from the squad earlier this week for what England called "serious breaches" of team discipline.

McNamara rose from his chair and said: "I've got to go boys any way because the bus is going, cheers, see you tomorrow."

PA

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