JACK Hughes says the groin injury that will rule him out of England's Downer World Cup Nines campaign has plagued him "for most of the season."

The Warrington Wolves co-captain was named in the squad for next weekend's inaugural tournament in Sydney but was replaced by Wire teammate Blake Austin yesterday.

Hughes, who is yet to win a full international cap, remains hopeful of proving his fitness for the Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, which starts later this month.

The second rower says he has had to manage his injury for most of the back end of Warrington's season and as a result, he felt the heavy workload of the Nines may have done him more harm than good.

“It’s just a carry-on of what I was struggling with most of the season really," he said.

“The load of the nines, and then going straight on the tour, I felt might have done more damage to me.

“So I thought it best, if the coach was good with that, not to play nines and just go on the tour.

“Two days of nines was probably a little bit too much of me to ask of my body at this time of the year.

“Hopefully I’ll be fine for GB. I’ve struggled with the groin injury for most of the season and the back end of the season was all about managing the load.

“I missed a lot of training but would manage to train the day before the game and then play.

“So, I just felt at this time of the year and coming off the back of how I’ve felt most of the year that the Nines was going to be a bit too much load on me.”

Hughes' stock has risen markedly over the past two seasons as a result of his consistency in a primrose and blue shirt.

Having been chosen to captain the England Knights in PNG last year, Wire head coach made him co-captain of his club alongside Chris Hill.

Selection in the England and Great Britain Performance Squads followed and if he can prove his fitness, a place on the Lions tour is within reach.

“It means everything to me," Hughes said.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted and one of the main things I have aspired to all my career, the reason I work hard.

“And I want to give back to family for all their support.

"Getting to the pinnacle and getting to international level is the thing most players are striving for so I’m over the moon and ecstatic to get the selection.”

Hughes and Wire teammates Blake Austin, Chris Hill and Daryl Clark were among a select group of England and Great Britain squad members to gather for training at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance this week.

Check out a photo gallery of the Wolves players in international training above