Smith stands by refusal to make England squad public

The England coach, Tony Smith, is standing by his refusal to disclose the provisional 40-man squad he was required to submit to World Cup tournament organisers in August, even though he is being left increasingly isolated by his secrecy.

Australia's coach, Ricky Stuart, was happy for his country's initial list of 46 names to be published, and Scotalnd's announcement of their squad this week now leaves England as the only one of the 10 nations who will compete in Australia this autumn preferring to keep their names under wraps.

Smith recently travelled to Australia with the England Under-18 team but Graeme Thompson, who will be the World Cup manager, confirmed that the aim is to keep everyone guessing - including the players - until the final 24 are named after an international against Wales on October 10, only a fortnight before England's first game of the competition against Papua New Guinea in Townsville.

"We've submitted our 40 but we're not wanting it made public," he said. "That's been our approach to it from the start because Tony wants the field to be left well open to give every eligible player every incentive to try to get into our final squad."