Sam Burgess and Kevin Brown declared fit for England’s World Cup semi-final despite missing training

Sam Burgess and Kevin Brown missed England's first field session in Auckland on Wednesday but coach Wayne Bennett insists they will be fit for Saturday's World Cup semi-final.

Second rower Burgess turned an ankle in last Sunday's 36-6 quarter-final win over Papua New Guinea while stand-off Brown suffered mild concussion in that game and was withdrawn at half-time.

However, Bennett told reporters after Wednesday's open training session at North Harbour Stadium that both players will line up in an unchanged team against Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium.

Kevin Brown has been named in an unchanged England team for Saturday's World Cup semi-final

"Kev's got to do a series of tests," Bennett said. "He's not allowed to train with the team in the early part of the week but he's doing other stuff so he's on track, it's all good.

"If he's going to be declared to play, he'll be able to train fully on Friday.

"I'm extremely confident. We'll bring another player in if we have to but I'm not planning on that.

"Sam hurt his ankle but that's not going to be an issue either. They'll all train on Friday."

The excitement levels in the camp have noticeably gone up a level with England standing just 80 minutes away from a first World Cup final since 1995 but the 67-year-old Bennett remains as calm and collected as ever.

"You just sleep a little less, that's all," he said.

England's progress in the tournament has been steady rather than spectacular and Bennett is hoping they can peak over the next 10 days.

"There's always room for improvement," he said. "Our ball control is not exactly where I'd want it but there's been glimpses of it. There's been halves of it, we've just got to do it for the full game.

"But all the other areas are much improved, there's no doubt about that.

"We wanted to make this stage of the competition and we have done – I'm proud of the commitment, attitude and effort from the whole squad so far.

"It was a mixed performance against Papua New Guinea. I was pleased with the way we defended and the build-up to some of our plays but the discipline with the football needs to improve.

"On and off the field, everyone is working hard for one another to get the little things right so we can take it into the game. Everyone's aware of the opportunity that's in front of them."

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