Castleford Tigers lynchpin Luke Gale fully focused on World Cup mission

England's Luke Gale.
England's Luke Gale.
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A FEW PINTS of Guinness helped Luke Gale get over the pain of Castleford Tigers’ Grand Final defeat, but he says an England win over Australia would complete the tonic.

The 2017 Man of Steel has had little time to lick his wounds from Saturday’s 24-6 loss to Leeds Rhinos after being called into England’s World Cup squad, which flew to Australia yesterday to begin a 10-day training camp.

Man of Steel 2017, Luke Gale.

Man of Steel 2017, Luke Gale.

“It can’t take long to get over it, I’ve a different task ahead now with the World Cup,” Gale said. “It wasn’t a great feeling after Saturday’s game, but I went to Dublin with the lads and had a few pints of Guinness.

“It was a time to reflect on a great season, not to have our heads down. It was disappointing with how it ended, but I’m proud of where we’ve come as a team. We just fell short at the final hurdle. We’ll get better for the experience and we’re looking forward to next year already.”

Gale, 29, made his debut against France 12 months ago and played in two of England’s three matches in the 2016 Four Nations. Second-rower Mike McMeeken is his only Tigers team-mate involved after Michael Shenton, Greg Eden and Paul McShane all failed to make the cut from England’s elite training squad and Zak Hardaker was omitted after testing positive for cocaine.

“I think every player would say their team-mates deserve to be in,” Gale said. “Maybe a couple might have been unlucky, but I think the 24-man squad Wayne Bennett has named is very strong and I’m very happy with it.”

Mike McMeeken.

Mike McMeeken.

England will set up camp in Perth this weekend to prepare for their opening clash with the Kangaroos in Melbourne on October 27, when Gale is expected to go up against 2016 Golden Boot winner Cooper Cronk.

“I want to test myself against the best players in the world,” Gale said. “We’ll go down to Perth, work hard and hopefully I’ll start in that No7 jersey. It’s a massive task, one the boys are really looking forward to already. It’s like being thrown into the lion’s den, in their own backyard. It’s going to be an amazing experience.

“We’ve got 10 days in Perth to acclimatise and get used to each other so we’ll have had long enough. We will be raring to go in that first game. It’s exciting. It would be a great tonic after last Saturday to beat the Aussies Down Under.”

Ryan Hall in action during the Rugby League World Cup. PIC: PA

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