22 Nov 2013

Chase dropped by England for semi-final

5:47 am on 22 November 2013

The New Zealand-born halfback Rangi Chase has been dropped by England for Sunday morning's Rugby League World Cup semi-final against the Kiwis at London's Wembley Stadium.

Chase, the 2011 Super League player of the season, had started all four previous matches of England's campaign but coach Steve McNamara has left him out in favour of Melbourne stand-off Gareth Widdop, recalled after being on the bench for the opening two group games.

The axing of Chase represents a startling about-turn by coach McNamara, who has largely kept faith with him ever since he controversially switched his allegiance two years ago.

He gave Chase his debut against France in October 2011 and remained loyal ever since, pinning his hopes of World Cup glory on his half-back partnership with skipper Kevin Sinfield.

The pair had been in tandem throughout the tournament but England have played well only in patches and Chase appears to have paid the price for their worst performance, the 34-6 win over the French.

Reigning champions New Zealand knocked England out of the last World Cup, in 2008, at the same semi-final stage with a 32-22 victory in Brisbane before defeating Australia in the final.