Rugby League - Briscoe aims to leave mark at KC

Tom Briscoe will be looking to leave his mark on Hull's KC Stadium after keeping his place in the England team for Saturday's final World Cup Group A match against Fiji.

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Rugby League - Briscoe aims to leave mark at KC
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England's Tom Briscoe (left) and Sam Tomkins in watchful mood against Ireland. Both will be action on Saturday.

The 23-year-old winger has played his last match for Hull after signing a five-year contract with Leeds and admits returning to his home for the last five years promises to be an emotional occasion.

"It will be special going back there," Briscoe said. "It will be the last time that I'll be going into the home changing room."

Briscoe, who scored the first try of the match in England's 28-6 win over New Zealand at the KC Stadium in the 2011 Four Nations Series, was a surprise selection for last week's match against Ireland after losing out to Wigan's Josh Charnley for the opening game against Australia.

But he seized his opportunity by scoring two tries in a 42-0 victory and will be part of an unchanged back division as England look to secure the runners-up spot in the group.

"I was a bit surprised to get the call," Briscoe said. "Obviously me and Josh are fighting it out for the right-wing spot. He played the week before and I thought he might have gone with the same team.

"But thankfully I got an opportunity and I think I did alright. I felt what I had to do I did well.

"Getting the two tries early in the game settled me down."

Coach Steve McNamara has made three changes, with South Sydney forward Sam Burgess returning as expected from a one-match suspension, while Wigan prop Lee Mossop is recalled and there is a first appearance of the tournament for his club-mate, hooker Michael McIlorum.

They take the places of Burgess' younger brother Tom, St Helens hooker James Roby and Melbourne Storm stand-off Gareth Widdop, whose absence will pave the way for Leeds hooker or half-back Rob Burrow to play his first match of the tournament.

The 25-year-old McIlorum won his third cap against France in the final of the 2012 autumn international series which Roby opted to sit out.

"Mickey deserves his call-up," said England coach Steve McNamara.

"He has trained tremendously hard. He is an aggressive type of player, who will command the middle of the field."

McIlorum was thought to be among the group of players who broke the team's alcohol ban in the aftermath of England's shock defeat by Italy in a pre-tournament friendly.

It might have explained his non-selection, along with that of James Graham and Zak Hardaker, for the opening game but McNamara has steadfastly refused to discuss the off-field distractions and remains confident they will not have any adverse effect on preparations for their latest match.

"We have trained well and we are ready to put in a performance," McNamara said.

"I get the feeling the group is on the verge of some really big performances and this will be one of them."

After thumping Ireland and testing the Kangaroos, the Fijiians are expected to put up strong resistance on Saturday and McNamara says there is no possibility of under-estimating them.

"We are coming up against opposition we respect," he said. "We have so far seen a Fiji team that is very exciting to watch with some brilliant outside backs.

"They have a set of forwards that are as physical as any team in the tournament. I can see why people see them as a threat on Saturday.

"Across the make-up of their team, the vast majority of their players are regular starters in the NRL and they are used to this level of intensity.

"The aim for us is gradual progression. We are looking to improve each week as the tournament moves towards the knockout stages.

"It is important to win against teams in and around you, but at some point you have to make sure all elements that have been positive in every game come together aiming for that complete performance.

"We know that if we are going to win the World Cup that has to happen."

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