Herbie Farnworth led the tributes to veteran winger Ryan Hall after he made a glorious return to international rugby league in England’s 42-18 World Cup win over France on Saturday evening.
The former Leeds favourite, who turns 35 a week after the World Cup final, was left out of Shaun Wane’s side for the opening game of the tournament, the 60-6 rout of Samoa in Newcastle, but made the most of his recall by scoring a brace against the French in Bolton.
Hall struck twice in the first 11 minutes to take his remarkable tally of England tries to 37 in 39 appearances. That enabled him to draw level in third place with former Australia captain Darren Lockyer in the list of all-time international try-scorers, with only Ken Irvine (40) and Mick Sullivan (46) in front.
Hall now has 12 World Cup tries, which have come in the last three tournaments of 2013, 2017 and 2021, which puts him one behind Australian Bob Fulton, with only Jarryd Hayne (14) and Billy Slater (16) further ahead in the pecking order.
Hall’s total of 226 Super League tries also puts him second to his former Leeds team-mate Danny McGuire, now assistant coach at his latest club Hull KR, in the all-time list.
Farnworth had a hand in both of Hall’s tries at the University of Bolton Stadium and says it was a privilege to be his centre.
“It’s a great honour,” Farnworth said. “Someone told me he’s broken a try-scoring record today and, if that’s true, to be part of that is a very special moment.
“What he’s done at international and also at club level is massive and to share the field with someone like that and to be on his edge is very special.”
Hall, whose previous England appearance was in the 2017 World Cup final in Brisbane, was upstaged in the latter stages of Saturday’s game by 21-year-old Dom Young, who continued his exciting entry onto the international stage with two more tries.
His second was a length-of-the-field effort which former England coach Steve McNamara said reminded him of Martin Offiah, and Hall expects his young rival to make a similar impression in his career.
“It is great training with Dom,” Hall said. “He is a young athlete and is still learning the game.
“He has obvious raw talents which he has displayed and he will get better and better with age.
“He needs fine-tuning in a couple of areas, but his head is like a sponge and he will absorb everything and will pick things up.
“He has started off in the right manner, I am sure you will be hearing his name for years to come.”
Wane is likely to bring back Tommy Makinson for next Saturday’s final Group A game against Greece in Sheffield and must now decide which player to leave out.
John Bateman and Mikolaj Oledzki made their first appearances of the tournament alongside debutants Andy Ackers and Marc Sneyd as Wane began his rotation policy ahead of the knockout stages.
That leaves Joe Batchelor and Kai Pearce-Paul as the only unused members of his 24-man squad and Wane confirmed both will make their debuts at Bramall Lane.
Definitely out of the Greece game is centre Kallum Watkins, who was forced off with a head injury 12 minutes into the second half.