Leeds Rhinos' Matt Prior is a 'natural leader' says Combined Nations All Star boss Tim Sheens

World Cup-winning coach Tim Sheens has hailed Leeds Rhinos’ veteran forward Matt Prior as a “natural leader”.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 11:45 am

Prior will be co-captain, with Wigan Warriors half-back Jackson Hastings, of the Combined Nations All Stars against England at Warrington on Friday.

The 33-year-old Australian is one of two Rhinos players in the All Stars’ squad, alongside England Knights hooker Kruise Leeming.

Rhinos’ Ash Handley, Luke Gale and Mikolaj Oledzki are set to feature for England.

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Matt Prior is tackled by Wakefield's Reece Lyne. Both are set to feature in Friday's international, on opposite sides. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Matt Prior is tackled by Wakefield's Reece Lyne. Both are set to feature in Friday's international, on opposite sides. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Sheens, the All Stars’ coach, reckons Prior was an obvious choice to lead the team, in tandem with play-maker Hastings.

“He plays long minutes and he’s a natural leader - it is a ‘come and follow me’ game he plays.” Sheens said.

“The spine are generally your captains anyway, they are telling people what to do, where to do it, how to do it.

“But as a natural forward leader, he is playing big minutes in every game, he carries the ball really strongly and he’s one of those durable characters who gets up and keeps going.”

All Stars coach Tim Sheens. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Sheens added: “I think he was the natural leader from the point of view of time on the park.

“He won’t be interchanged much, so I felt he was the one the boys will follow.”

All five of the Leeds players involved on Friday could back up for their club in Sunday’s rearranged Betfred Super League game at Salford Red Devils.

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