EIGHT PLAYERS from Leeds Rhinos, plus three Castleford Tigers youngsters, are gearing up for rugby league’s ultimate challenge tonight – taking on Australia.
Yorkshire face Australian Schoolboys in a tour match at the Jungle (7.30pm) and places in the England side for two Tests next month will be up for grabs.
The Aussies meet Lancashire in Manchester on Saturday before Tests against England at Leigh Sports Village on December 8 and Emerald Headingley six days later.
Rhinos’ highly-rated 17-year-old prop Tom Holroyd will be on Yorkshire duty this evening and insisted: “It will be a good opportunity to play against the Australians; I want to see if I can earn a spot in the England team. I’d be happy to do that.
“I am in the England squad, but I haven’t played for Yorkshire to prove anything yet. Once I’ve played for Yorkshire, hopefully I can do enough to get in that England team.”
The Aussie Schoolboys began their tour in ominous fashion with a 92-0 demolition of England Colleges in Newcastle three days ago.
“They will be a good team, but they are only human,” Holroyd observed.
“They are the same age as us so we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t played against Australians before so it will be good to give it a go, it’s something new and we’ll see what we’re coming up against in the years to come.”
Leeds’ former Castleford stand-off Callum McLelland is set to play his first game since returning from rugby union and the other Rhinos players in Yorkshire’s squad are Muizz Mustapha, Corey Johnson, Jack Broadbent, Louis McConnell, Owen Trout and Tyler Dupree.
Lewis Carr, Lewis Peachey and Robbie Storey will be representing Tigers, and Holroyd said: “We have got a few lads out who are being rested for the England games – such as [Leeds centre] Harry Newman, but it is a good, strong team.”
Holroyd, from Halifax, has just completed his first year in Rhinos’ under-19s and made his first-team debut as a substitute against Catalans Dragons in March.
He is now training full-time with Leeds and keen to show what he has learned.
“It is tough, it is a big step up for me, but I am getting more out of it and I think I am developing better as a player,” he said.
“I made my debut against Catalans, but I am hoping for a bit more game time next year and a few more games under my belt.
“I can only get better from there if I do.”
Holroyd was signed from the Siddal community club where he was a member of the country’s most successful youth team and if he can reproduce anything like that success at senior level Rhinos’ immediate future will be bright.
“I played there since I was four years old,” he recalled. “I only lost one game in all the time I was there. We won nearly every cup going.”
The Yorkshire squad is: Muizz Mustapha, Callum McLelland, Corey Johnson, Jack Broadbent, Louis McConnell, Owen Trout, Tom Holroyd, Tyler Dupree (all Leeds Rhinos), Lewis Carr, Lewis Peachey, Robbie Storey (all Castleford Tigers), Conner Wynne, Elliot Wallis, Jack Brown, Mikey Lewis (all City of Hull Academy), Dom Young, Jack Flynn (both Huddersfield Giants), Keelan Foster, Rowan Milnes (both Bradford Bulls), Rory Nettleton (Newcastle Thunder).