BLAKE Austin has replaced Warrington Wolves teammate Jack Hughes in the England squad for the Downer World Cup Nines.

The Wire co-captain has a groin injury but is still hopeful of proving his fitness for the four-match Great Britain tour, which follows the tournament in Sydney.

However, it gives a chance for Austin – eligible for England through his Middlesex-born grandmother – a chance to strut his stuff on the international stage earlier than expected.

It also gives the 28-year-old a chance to play more football with Gareth Widdop, who is also in the Nines squad and will be his half-back partner at The Halliwell Jones Stadium next year.

Austin had been struggling with a knee injury but his inclusion suggests the England medical staff are satisfied with his recovery.