Rugby League World Cup 2017: England’s Josh Hodgson to miss final with knee injury
|Rugby League World Cup final: Australia v England|
|Date: Saturday, 2 December Kick-off: 09:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app|
England hooker Josh Hodgson will miss Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia with a knee ligament injury.
The 28-year-old sustained the injury in England’s dramatic 20-18 win over Tonga in the semi-finals.
A scan on Sunday showed Hodgson has an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is almost certain to miss the start of the NRL season with Canberra Raiders.
“Hodgson will now return to Canberra for a specialist review with a view to operate,” said an England spokesman.
Former Hull KR captain Hodgson has started four of England’s five matches at the World Cup.
He limped off after 23 minutes of the victory over Tonga at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday and failed to return.
James Roby, who started on the bench against Tonga, won his 30th cap as a replacement for Hodgson and the St Helens man claimed he is ready to step into a starting role.
“It’s obviously bad news for Josh and I feel for him,” Roby said. “If that means me starting, I’m going to have to get ready to get going from the off.”
With no other specialist hooker in his 24-man squad, England head coach Wayne Bennett may call on the versatile Stefan Ratchford or half-back George Williams to provide back-up against the Kangaroos – though Roby says he is ready to play a full game if needed.
“I’m used to playing 80 minutes, but these World Cup games are that intense,” he added. “If I have to do 80, I’ll put my hand up and do my best.”
England have yet to provide an update on captain Sean O’Loughlin, who is also a fitness doubt after picking up a thigh strain against Tonga.