England’s rugby league players are to visit the Western Front in Ypres as part of plans to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The team will wear a special commemorative jersey for the third Test against New Zealand at Elland Road on Remembrance Sunday, November 11, as a show of support for the Royal British Legion’s ‘Thank You’ movement.
England internationals, twin brothers George and Tom Burgess took a break from training ahead of tomorrow’s Test match against France to model the jersey, which features the poppy, at the launch at the Imperial War Museum in Salford yesterday.
They were also presented with copies of a new book, ‘Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union”, written by Jane and Chris Roberts to commemorate the 69 Northern Union players who did not return from the Front.
Former England captain Jamie Peacock, now team manager, said: “The sport of rugby league and the England team, are proud to be associated with the courage and sacrifices of our Armed Forces.
“We will be visiting the Western Front as a squad next weekend to reinforce that message ahead of the Test series against New Zealand.”
It’s a couple of years since I’ve been back to England and a couple of years since I’ve represented my country so it’s good to be back in the fold.George Burgess
George Burgess is back in favour with England head coach Wayne Bennett after being dropped for the 2017 World Cup and missing this summer’s historic Test against the Kiwis in Denver through injury.
“It’s a couple of years since I’ve been back to England and a couple of years since I’ve represented my country so it’s good to be back in the fold,” the South Sydney prop said.
“I suppose everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t to be but I went back and trained as hard as I could. You’ve just got to cop it sometimes. Some of my form wasn’t up to it in 2017 which was fair enough. Sometimes it’s just good to hear it from a man like Wayne Bennett, it gives you extra motivation to work harder.
“I had a few issues with my body which I got right this year. I feel a lot fitter this year and played all the games.
England are without Sam Burgess, who withdrew from the squad in order to have shoulder and wrist surgery.