England coach Shaun Wane explains Leeds Rhinos stars' omission from squad to face Combined Nations All Stars

England boss Shaun Wane has explained why Leeds Rhinos’ Kruise Leeming and Zak Hardaker have been left out of his squad to face Combined Nations All Stars on Saturday.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:45 pm

Prop Mikolaj Oledzki is the only Rhinos player in Wane’s 20-man group for the game at Warrington.

Leeming was named in the England training squad in March, but will play for All Stars this weekend after featuring in their 26-24 win in the same fixture 12 months ago.

Leeming missed Rhinos’ defeat at Huddersfield Giants four days ago because of illness, but Wane said that wasn’t the reason for his England omission.

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Zak Hardaker could still play in the World Cup, if his form for Leeds is 'outstanding'. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

“I rate Kruise very highly,” Wane said. “I’ve had a long chat with him and there’s other things in his game, which I spoke to [former coach] Richard Agar about when he was at Leeds

“Kruise is a great kid and he wants to get better. He knows if he is doing the things I need him to do towards the end of the year, he has got a real good shot at playing in the World Cup.”

Hardaker was selected for the performance squad before leaving Wigan and being signed by Leeds two months ago. Wane, who is on the backroom staff at Wigan, said: “He is doing okay with Leeds, but there’s certain things I want from a full-back and centre.

“He has just joined Leeds and started playing again. He has had his demons, Zak, so I just want him to relax, sit back and enjoy being at Leeds and play really well, knowing if his form is outstanding towards the back end of the year I will bring him back into the squad.”

Oledzki has been one of Rhinos’ most consistent performers this year and retains his place after playing for England against France last autumn.

Wane enthused: “He is a great kid, I like him.

“He is tough, he listens - whenever I speak to him about what he needs to improve on, he is like a sponge.

“You can’t give him enough information and I love that in lads, the ones who want to improve and get better. Mik is one of the best for that.”