England v New Zealand: Captain Sam Burgess set for Four Nations return

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Burgess full of praise for England boss Bennett

Sam Burgess is set to make his first appearance for England since returning from rugby union when Wayne Bennett’s side face New Zealand on Saturday.

South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Burgess, who was banned for the friendly win over France last week, last played for England in the World Cup semi-final defeat by the Kiwis at Wembley in 2013.

The captain’s inclusion is one of five changes for the Four Nations opener.

“Sam’s ready to pull on the England rugby league shirt,” said Bennett.

Forward Burgess, 27, played for England in last year’s rugby union World Cup after joining Bath, but returned to the NRL this season.

Australian coach Bennett has also recalled utility back Dan Sarginson for the game in Huddersfield after a two-year absence, while Grand Finalists Chris Hill, John Bateman and George Williams return to the 19-man squad.

St Helens centre Mark Percival and Hull prop Scott Taylor, who made their Test debuts against France in Avignon, are the notable omissions from the team that won 40-6 in Bennett’s first match in charge.

“The boys know the pressure and the intensity will rise as we get closer to Saturday – it’s a challenge we’re all looking forward to,” added Bennett.

New Zealand coach David Kidwell has picked the same team that suffered a 26-6 defeat by Australia on Saturday.

“I’m really happy with how the boys have trained,” said Kidwell, who will be taking charge of his second match. “We understand the challenge and need to be at our best.”

England squad: John Bateman, George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Liam Farrell, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Dan Sarginson, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

New Zealand squad: Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Greg Eastwood, Tohu Harris, Shaun Johnson, Jordan Kahu, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Issac Luke, Manu Ma’u, Jason Nightingale, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Rapana, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

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