Castleford star Arundel gets England Knights call-up

Joe Arundel goes over for a try for Castleford Tigers during the 2011 season. Picture: Allan McKenzie
Joe Arundel goes over for a try for Castleford Tigers during the 2011 season. Picture: Allan McKenzie

CASTLEFORD Tigers’ impressive young centre Joe Arundel has been rewarded for his consistent season by being included in the England Knights train-on squad as they begin preparations ahead of their two matches against France and Samoa next month.

Former Cas Panthers junior Arundel, 20, missed only one game all season as he established himself as the Tigers’ number one centre in the season just finished.

He won the most improved player award at the recent club dinner and will now see his campaign finish off with England duty. He is joined in the squad by former team-mates Joe Westerman, now at Hull FC, and another ex-Cas player Liam Watts.

Further players will be included over the next two weeks.

Castleford-born Brisbane Broncos star Jack Reed, meanwhile, is set to compete with former Cas Tigers star Michael Shenton for a centre place in England’s team for the forthcoming Gillette Four Nations tournament.

Reed, who’s best position is centre, has pledged his allegiance to the country of his birth and will figure in Steve McNamara’s plans for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations.

Reed, who was born in Castleford and moved to Australia when he was two, has enjoyed a sensational debut season in the NRL and will feature in England’s train-on squad once his commitments down under are finished for the year..

The 23-year-old’s form had seen him earmarked as a future Queensland player but the young Bronco, nicknamed ‘Jumping Jack’ Down Under, has turned his back on State of Origin representation to become part of England plans for the Gillette Four Nations and the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

“Jack is an exciting player, who has had a great season in the NRL,” said England coach McNamara.

“We are delighted that he is pledging his allegiance to England. It is a great coup for us as we continue our preparations ahead of the Gillette Four Nations. I have been in constant dialogue with Jack and his manager throughout the year and he has convinced me of his desire and total commitment to play for the country of his birth.

“We are always interested in adding quality to the squad and Jack certainly fits that bill - he will add great competition to our backs.”

Reed has scored 12 tries in the 2011 season and his direct style has impressed the England coach.

“We have analysed his performances throughout this year’s campaign and he has gained valuable experience playing in a tough competition in his first season,” added McNamara.

“He has been a stand-out player in the Brisbane Broncos side. Jack is concentrating on the NRL finals with the Broncos and once his domestic commitments have been completed he will join up with the rest of the train-on squad at our base in Loughborough.”

Reed said he was thrilled by the prospect of representing England and is looking forward to joining Steve and the rest of the squad as they gear up preparations for the Gillette Four Nations over the next few weeks.

“It was a tough decision to make but my heritage means a lot to me and it will be a great honour to represent England if selected,” he said.

“Everyone, both at home and at the club, have been very supportive throughout the whole process.

“I have been in contact with Steve (McNamara) and he has been great. He hasn’t put any pressure on me and has left the decision to myself.

“I’m looking forward at the end of the season being part of the England set-up and hopefully forcing my way into Steve’s plans.

“It would be great to play on the international stage and be part of something special this year and in the future - especially with the Rugby League World Cup coming up in 2013.”

England start their Gillette Four Nations campaign on Saturday, October 29 when they take on Wales at Leigh Sports Village (2.30pm) with tickets priced at £10 adults and £5 concessions. The tournament moves to Wembley Stadium on Saturday, November 5 when Wales face New Zealand at 1pm before England clash with Australia at 3.30pm.

England’s remaining game against New Zealand will be played at the KC Stadium in Hull on Saturday November 12 (6pm) and tickets are priced from £20 adults and £10 concessions. The 2011 Gillette Four Nations final will be played at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday, November 19 (6pm) with tickets from £20 adults and £10 concessions.

Tickets for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations can be bought by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk