England’s Chris Heighington (left) faced Lebanon earlier in the competition
Rugby League World Cup final
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Queensland
Date: Saturday, 2 December
Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage from 08:30 GMT on BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app and listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra and read text updates on BBC Sport website. Watch highlights from 18:00 on BBC Two

Veteran forward Chris Heighington has been recalled by England for Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia.

The 34-year-old Australian-born lock, who played in the first two games, takes a spot on a huge bench of forwards as James Roby starts at hooker in place of the injured Josh Hodgson.

Either St Helens forward Roby, 32, will play the entire game or, with no backs named on the bench, one of the half-backs will move to the hooker role when he is rested and captain Sean O’Loughlin will likely move to stand-off.

Wigan loose forward O’Loughlin is himself recovering from a quad injury he suffered in the semi-final with Tonga but is named in the team.

“Sean’s doing everything possible to get fit,” said England forward Chris Hill. “He’s moving a lot better. We’ve got a couple of days yet so we’ll wait and see.

“If he doesn’t play, obviously it’s a loss but that’s why we’ve brought a squad, someone else will step in.”

Australia coach Mal Meninga has selected an unchanged squad for the final at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

Australia’s Gerard Sutton will referee the final, which starts at 09:00 GMT, with England’s Ben Thaler appointed as video referee.

The squads

England: G Widdop (St George Illawarra); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), K Watkins (Leeds), J Bateman (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); K Brown (Warrington), L Gale (Castleford); C Hill (Warrington), J Roby (St Helens), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), S Burgess (South Sydney), E Whitehead (Canberra), S O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt).

Interchanges: A Walmsley (St Helens), B Currie (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Heighington (Cronulla).

Australia squad: B Slater, D Gagai, W Chambers, J Dugan, V Holmes, M Morgan, C Cronk, Woods, C Smith, D Klemmer, B Cordner, M Gillett, J McGuire, W Graham, J McLean, R Campbell-Gillard, T Frizell, F Kaufusi, T Trbojevic, J Mansour, J Maloney.

‘We’re not deluding ourselves about the challenge’ – O’Loughlin

The Kangaroos have already got the better of England in this tournament when they recorded a 18-4 win in Melbourne last month.

And while the hosts looked superb in their 54-6 in the semi-final win over Fiji last week, England only just managed hold off Tonga in their last four match.

In the build-up to the first final between the teams in 22 years, England coach Wayne Bennett was asked if England can beat Australia. He responded: “Probably not. But we will be there next week. We will still go to the game.”

England currently have odds of 7-1 to win the final in Brisbane and Australia are 7-1 odds-on.

O’Loughlin said his side will have to improve and defend well against a team that has scored 204 tournament points as opposed to their 125.

“We’ve shown glimpses during this World Cup that we’re a good side,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “You saw a bit of that against Tonga.

“The Australians go into the final as favourites. We’re not deluding ourselves about the challenge we have in front of us. We know we’ve got to up our game a little bit.”

He added: “They attack very well with threats all over the field. At this stage of the competition it’s all about who defends well. We don’t want to give them extra opportunities to attack us.”

England last reached this stage in 1995 when they were defeated 16-8 by the Kangaroos at Wembley. Prior to that the home nations competed as Great Britain, who won the competition on three occasions – the last of which was in 1972.

They have reached the semi-finals on the previous three occasions, losing to New Zealand each time.

Who will win the final?

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