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Bennett: "I want the best players to play for England"

England coach Wayne Bennett speaks ahead of World Club Series match

England coach Wayne Bennett has indicated the majority of his squad for the mid-year Test against Samoa will be drawn from Super League but he hasn’t ruled out using the likes of Trent Hodkinson and Blake Austin at this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Speaking ahead of the World Club Series match between his Brisbane Broncos side and Super League grand finalists Warrington, Bennett said 12-to-13 players would make the trip from England for the May 6 Test in Sydney, but he had agreed to limit the number to three per club.

However, Bennett reaffirmed he would select the best available players for the World Cup, including heritage players such as Hodkinson, Austin and the Morris twins, Brett and Josh.

Former Queensland Origin second-rower Chris McQueen and Manly forward Darcy Lussick also have English heritage which would enable them to play for Bennett’s team at the World Cup.

"My priority is always to pick the best players so if they're the best players, well, they'll be considered," Bennett told reporters at a press conference in England.

"I want the best players to play for England, regardless of where they are it will be the best players that are going to be there."

After the cancellation of a pre-season training camp in Dubai, Bennett said the Test against Samoa would be important to England’s World Cup preparations and he had addressed Super League coaches about his plans at a meeting this week.

"We'll take 12 or 13 [players] from the UK but we wouldn't do it if it wasn't important,” Bennett said.

"All the other countries are doing it in mid-season and we want to be the best team possible.

"We've got an undertaking that we won't take more than three from one club because they've all got games the following weekend, but I'm happy with that.

“There'll be about a dozen who miss the following week's fixtures in England because they're playing in Australia, but the Samoa game is an important one to play, because we want more games.”

The Super League players will be joined in Sydney by eight or nine NRL-based England stars, such as Sam Burgess, James Graham, Josh Hodgson and Gareth Widdop, for a mini-training camp ahead of the Samoa Test,

"They are pretty excited about the Test in May - a small training camp where we can just reinforce some things and get another practice behind us before the World Cup starts."

England will play in the opening Rugby League World Cup2017 match against Australia in Melbourne on October 27, before meeting Lebanon at the Sydney Football Stadium on November 4 and France in Perth on November 12.  

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