Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Rugby League

Sydney determined to block Burgess playing in 'trumped-up' England game

South Sydney are adamant that Sam Burgess will not be released to play in England's mid-season international.

The Rugby League will confirm next week that the national side will play an Exiles team, selected from the best overseas players in Super League, in June, instead of the usual undemanding fixture against France.

In an ideal world, Steve McNamara would like to have his Australian-based players available, but clubs are only obliged to release them for full Tests.

"He won't be going," said Souths' chief executive, Shane Richardson, of Burgess, who is expected to return to action this weekend after a shoulder injury. "It's an invented game, a trumped-up game."

The NRL's two other prominent Englishmen – Gareth Ellis of Wests Tigers and Melbourne's Gareth Widdop – have both indicated that they would like to play for their country.

Wigan hope to get permission from the RFL for Gareth Hock to resume training with them.

Hock's two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine expires in June and he is not supposed to train with his club until then.