England’s Alex Walmsley completes rise from Yorkshire fields to Sydney glitz

• St Helens prop says he is ‘proud of the route I’ve taken’ before England debut
• Alex Walmsley replaces Sam Burgess for World Cup meeting with Lebanon

Alex Walmsley is not ashamed to admit he had once given up on his dream. By the conclusion of England’s World Cup group game with Lebanon on Saturday, people will know much more about the menacing figure that is the St Helens prop but five years ago his story could not have been more different.

“It wasn’t possible to be here back then,” he said before his international debut in Sydney.

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