Peacock backs Leeds man for England


Published: Saturday 21st March 2015 by The News Editor

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Former England captain Jamie Peacock is pushing his Leeds front-row colleague Adam Cuthbertson for an England call-up.

The 30-year-old Australian prop, who produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Rhinos’ 26-14 Super League win over Wigan on Friday night, has a Warrington-born father and has put his hand up to represent England.

Signed in the winter on a four-year deal from Newcastle Knights, Cuthbertson has proved to be an instant hit with Leeds and Peacock believes he could make an impact with Steve McNamara’s men in the Test series against New Zealand in the autumn.

“He’s been really good for us this year,” Peacock said. “He’s slotted straight into Super League.

“He’s got a great style of football, he can play a bit.”

Peacock says he would not have a problem with the Sydney-born Cuthbertson representing England, pointing to McNamara’s selection of New Zealand-born Rangi Chase for the 2013 World Cup while predecessor Tony Smith picked Samoa-born forward Maurie Fa’asavalu for Great Britain in 2007.

“T he bigger pool you can get for England the better,” he added. “We are seeing that within all sports now with eligibility rules, so why not?

“I can’t speak for other players, you would have to ask them if it puts their noses out of joint but it never bothered me.

“Roger (Chase) was in there, wasn’t he?”

The biggest hurdle for Cuthbertson will be the plethora of world-class front-row forwards at McNamara’s disposal.

James Graham, Tom and George Burgess and Chris Hill are expected to be automatic picks after playing in the 2014 Four Nations Series while St Helens duo Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor are pushing themselves into the reckoning. Sydney-based Mike Cooper will also fancy his chances of breaking through after being a non-playing member of McNamara’s squad last year.

Cuthbertson, who also played in the NRL for Manly, Cronulla and St George Illawarra, was selected for the New South Wales City Origin team in 2011.

Meanwhile, teenager Ash Handley could be set for an extended run in the Leeds team after marking his home debut with a try against Wigan.

The 19-year-old had been on stand-by for England winger Tom Briscoe and got his chance when the former Hull favourite was ruled out with a serious shoulder injury.

“Tom will have to have an operation so he is going to be a number of weeks out, which is a shame for him,” Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said.

“He’s been one of our best players and certainly one of the best wingers in the competition.

“If there’s a positive it’s that it’s early in the season and he will have his rehab and come back to us at an important part of the year.”

Published: Saturday 21st March 2015 by The News Editor

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