By PA Sport
Last Updated: 22/06/18 9:46pm
John Bateman will again be at centre for his country after England head coach Wayne Bennett finalised his line-up for Saturday’s Test match against New Zealand at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.
Bennett used Wigan second-rower Bateman at left centre throughout the World Cup and he will be switched to the right against the Kiwis in the absence of Kallum Watkins.
Mark Percival gets a chance in the other centre spot with St Helens team-mate Tommy Makinson and Hull utility back Jake Connor set to win their first caps from the bench.
The rest of the team is as expected with Sam Burgess dropping into the second row to make way for the return from injury of skipper Sean O’Loughlin at loose forward.
The team features nine players who started England’s last match, the World Cup final against Australia in December.
Jonny Lomax, who was a replacement in the World Cup final, will partner Gareth Widdop at half-back, with Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford chosen at full-back.
Former St Helens prop James Graham, England’s most-capped player, will make his 40th appearance, almost 10 years to the day since his first against France.
England: 1 Stefan Ratchford, 2 Jermaine McGillvary, 3 John Bateman, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Gareth Widdop; 8 Chris Hill, 9 James Roby, 10 James Graham, 11 Sam Burgess, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Sean O’Loughlin (c).
Interchange: 14 Jake Connor, 15 Thomas Burgess, 16 Tommy Makinson, 17 Scott Taylor.
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