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England draft in Currie for ill Walmsley for World Cup opener against Australia

England were forced into making a late change for their opening World Cup match in Melbourne when St Helens prop Alex Walmsley pulled out through illness.

Walmsley, who was due to make his debut against Australia in Melbourne from the bench, was replaced by another uncapped player, Warrington second rower Ben Currie.

Walmsley fell ill at the start of the week and sat out training on Tuesday but recovered in time to take a full part in the team’s final run at AAMI Park on Thursday and was named in coach Wayne Bennett’s 17-man squad.

England forward Ben Currie

However, England announced just over an hour before kick-off that the St Helens forward had succumbed to the virus.

Currie was something of a surprise selection after making just four appearances for his club in the 2017 Super League season, having undergone major knee surgery just over 12 months ago.

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