Ryan Hall determined to build on England recall at World Cup
England’s record tryscorer Ryan Hall will be out to cement his place back in the national team when he wins his 41st cap against France in Group A of the World Cup in Bolton on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Hull KR winger discovered the hard way that reputations count for only so much under Shaun Wane when he was left out of his team for the opening game of the tournament.
Dom Young and Tommy Makinson seized their chances in a 60-6 rout of Samoa but Hall gets an opportunity to add to his 35-try haul as Wane rotates his squad ahead of next week’s final group game against Greece and the knockout stages.
“Being in the position in previous years where it seems I was always included, it was really hard to take,” said Hall after Friday morning’s final team run at the University of Bolton Stadium.
“But it was only hard to take for about three seconds when I realised there is more to it than just being disappointed and moping around.
“I had a job to do, there’s 24 people in the squad and I was pleased with the way I reacted and helped the team build for last week’s game.”
Hall’s mission is to give Wane plenty to ponder and he insists he will not be thinking about extending his phenomenal tryscoring record.
“I’ll be thinking about the winning and how little we’ve done on the international stage,” said Hall, who is one of five survivors from the team that lost 6-0 to Australia in the 2017 World Cup final.
“We’ve won a couple of tournaments against the Kiwis but it’s the World Cup and we’ve haven’t won that for 50 years.
“If I can score one try in the final and help us win, great, if I do something else on the field to help us win, that’s also great.
“Every second and every minute on that pitch counts for me, I’ll be doing everything I can to get my name on the team sheet for next week as well.”
Victory over France would effectively clinch a quarter-final spot but assistant coach Andy Last says it is important to build on the momentum generated by the win over Samoa.
“There are some big games on the horizon,” Last said. “This is an important game in terms of the group and making sure we secure that top spot.
“France are a dangerous team, they’ve a lot of experience from those Catalans boys and they did a good job against Greece earlier in the week. We need to be on our guard.”
Scrum-half Marc Sneyd, second-rower Joe Batchelor and hooker Andy Ackers are all set to win their first caps, with Sneyd hoping to build on his impressive performance in the non-cap warm-up match against Fiji.
“I was genuinely gutted to miss out last week but obviously it’s my first experience in these tournaments and I knew I’d get a chance at some point,” Sneyd said.
“It was just a case of cracking on and helping the boys as best I could.
“I’ll do my best and hopefully that’s good enough to keep me in the later stages of the tournament.”
Sneyd is looking forward to going up against his Salford team-mate Morgan Escare, who is set to be tested under the high ball.
“I will be laughing at him when he drops it,” laughed Sneyd.
“I love him, he’s a good lad. He’s a bit mad but I get on with him.
“Obviously on the field, he brings a lot of energy, he’s rapid and deceptively strong, one of those players who can create something from nothing.”
Last also poinpoints the threat posed by Escare in tandem with half-backs Arthur Mourge and Tony Gigot.
“The unpredictability of their spine makes them dangerous,” Last said. “Escare, Arthur Mourge and Gigot are three players you could label as mavericks and their unstructured stuff is a real threat to us.”
England: S Tomkins (capt); D Young, H Farnworth, K Watkins, R Hall; G Williams, M Sneyd; C Hill, A Ackers, M Oledzki, J Batchelor, E Whitehead, J Bateman. Subs: M McMeeken, J Welsby, L Thompson, T Burgess.