Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale has spoken about the pride he felt in finally walking out to play for England.
After being included in the England squad for last year’s international series with New Zealand Gale was surprisingly not chosen for any of the games despite being the outstanding half-back in Super League in 2015.
But after another successful year with the Tigers when he won the Albert Goldthorpe Medal for the second successive year – and a change of England head coach – Gale made his long awaited debut for his country when they played France in their 40-6 win in a Four Nations warm-up game last Saturday.
“I really enjoyed it and it was a proud moment for myself to pull on the England jersey,” said Gale.
“The boys went really well, impressed, completed high, did all the right things.
“The one try is pretty disappointing but apart from that we were happy.
“France probably played better than anyone gave them credit for. They came out, obviously a test on their own back yard. They were fighting after about four minutes so we knew they had come to put themselves about.
“I thought it was an adequate test for us and we handled it really well.”
Gale hopes to have done enough in the game to win a place in the starting line up for the first of the Four Nations games against New Zealand at Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “You just keep practicing at training, listening at videos, and I think they will pick the team pretty soon.
“I’m not sure what he is thinking yet – it’s hard to predict, to be honest – but it’s good and all the boys help each other.
“It’s a really good environment and whoever gets the nod I’m sure will do a great job.
“There will be plenty of confidence knocking about, all the half-backs in the squad are a bit different and I’m sure working with Wayne, Bettsy and the other guys we’ll get the best out of each other.
“I’m looking forward to the next few weeks alongside everyone and putting it to use.”
Gale is expecting a cracking contest with the Kiwis with a place in the Four Nations final likely to be at stake for the winners.
He added: “They’ve a big set of forwards getting them on the front foot and I think it will be a great battle.
“I’m looking forward to our forwards mixing it with theirs.
“It’s going to be great, in front of a packed stadium at Huddersfield and sure to be a spectacle.”