Smith announces England squad

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The Independent Online

England will go into Saturday's final World Cup pool match against New Zealand with just two specialist props.

Coach Tony Smith has decided to rest Man of Steel James Graham, along with his St Helens team-mates James Roby and Ade Gardner, for a game that is being seen as a "dead rubber".

Barring an unlikely victory by Papua New Guinea over Australia in Townsville on Sunday, England and the Kiwis will meet again a week later in the first semi-final in Brisbane.

With that crunch clash in mind, Smith has taken the opportunity to rotate his squad, with Mickey Higham, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jamie Langley, Rob Purdham, Paul Sykes and Ben Westwood all hoping for a first World Cup appearance after being named in a 19-strong squad.

As the only other specialist hooker in England's 24-man party, Higham is certain to take the place of Roby, who has been one of the shining lights of England's first two matches, while winger Lee Smith returns from a foot injury to take over from Gardner.