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Double blow Down Under for McNamara
England coach Steve McNamara will not be able to see two of his players in action throughout his three-week stay in Australia after Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis were condemned to lengthy spells on the sidelines.
McNamara landed Down Under last week on a fact-finding mission but in the first game he took in, Burgess' South Sydney against Ellis' Wests Tigers, he saw the former pick up a knee injury and the latter a foot problem.
Both players' respective clubs have confirmed how long the internationals will be out for, with Burgess set for six to eight weeks on the sidelines and Ellis three months with a broken foot.
It is the second time in as many seasons that former Bradford man Burgess has injured his knee, having been forced to miss all but four games of the 2011 season with a similar problem.
"It's disappointing to lose Sam for a period of time, especially considering the effort he's put in to get where he is now," coach Michael Maguire said.
"Knowing Sam as I do now, I'm certain that he will do everything he can to get back on the field as early as possible, and in the best shape possible as well."
Ellis' injury almost certainly ends his chances of enjoying a clean sweep of player-of-the-year awards with Wests.
He has been handed the accolade in each of his three seasons so far, but is cutting short his stay by a year to link up with Hull in 2013.