WINGER Ryan Hall won’t make the mistake of tangling with Leeds Rhinos club-mates Kylie Leuluai and Danny Buderus when England do battle with the Exiles at Headingley Carnegie tonight.
Hall – along with stand-off Kevin Sinfield and prop Jamie Peacock – will line up against fellow Rhinos Leuluai and Danny Buderus in the inaugural International Origin match.
And while fans will be hoping to view explosive clashes between club colleagues, Hall has seen enough rival players wiped out by one of Leuluai’s big hits to avoid fall into the same trap.
Leuluai has been named among the Exiles substitutes, with Buderus captaining the team at hooker.
Unlike Peacock and Sinfield, Hall won’t be occupying the same middle ground as his Rhinos team-mates/opponents and he stressed: “I won’t be running at them.
“I have seen it too many times for it to happen to me! That’s one of the advantages I have got, when you train with people like Kylie and Bedsy (Buderus) you see what they can do.
“I have never played against them, but I can imagine what it’s like.”
Not that Hall believes any of the Exiles players will give an inch in the collision this evening. He added: “They are all world class players and I think any of them would walk into any NRL side, so it will be a good test for us.
“I think it will have the same intensity as a Test match, that is how we are treating it.
“It will be full-on, definitely. We play against these players week in and week out, so it’s a bit different to the internationals at the end of the year.
“We know them a bit more than NRL players and we’re fully aware of what to expect. They are all tricky players and they will be fully prepared for it, so I think it will be a good run-out.”
The International Origin game has been introduced to give England a stern mid-season challenge, following one-sided romps against France in previous seasons.
“I fully agree with it,” Hall said of the new concept. “The idea has been around for a few years, but I think it’s great.
“People are talking about – if it takes off – it becoming a three-games series, like State of Origin in Australia.
“That’s the biggest game of the year for Australians and it is renown around the world. We have to see if we can turn this into one of those occasions.”
Playing at Headingley Carnegie will make tonight’s game a bit more special for Leeds lad Hall, who played his junior rugby with Oulton Raiders.
He said: “It will be a proud moment when I run out. I have played on big stages all over the country, but it is nice to come home.”
Other products of Leeds amateur teams on England duty this evening are the former Stanningley pairing of Peacock and Garreth Carvell and Michael McIlorum, who played for Queens.
Lining up for Exiles against England will be one of Engage Super League’s most in-form players, Castleford Tigers stand-off Rangi Chase.
“Everyone is excited about it,” Chase said. “We have got a good team and hopefully we put things together and have a good game.
“I’m over the moon to be part of it. Everyone in the side has had good experience – for Australia, New Zealand or State of Origin – and it is a quality team.
“Just to be here with all these blokes is an honour and it is good to represent Cas. I am proud to be representing not only my country, but my club team as well. I hope I can put a good game on for them.”
Chase is predicting an “exciting” contest. He said: “I think it’ll be a pretty physical game, with the pack we have and the one they have. England have got a strong squad, they have got some warriors and anyone who puts on that England jumper will play with a lot of pride.
“We are just going to worry about ourselves. We are all enjoying each other’s company and we are going to go out there and have fun.”
England: S Tomkins (Wigan Warriors), Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Shenton (St Helens), Bridge (Warrington Wolves), Briscoe (Hull), Sinfield (Leeds), Myler (Warrington), Peacock (Leeds), Robinson (Huddersfield Giants), Graham (St Helens), Wilkin (St Helens), Westwood (Warrington), O’Loughlin (Wigan). Subs McIlorum (Wigan), Morley (Warrington), Carvell (Warrington), J Tomkins (Wigan).
Exiles: Hodgson (Warrington Wolves/Australia), Richards (Wigan Warriors/Australia), Carmont (Wigan/Australia), King (Warrington/Australia), Meli (St Helens/Samoa), Chase (Castleford Tigers/New Zealand), T Leuluai (Wigan/New Zealand), Puletua (St Helens/New Zealand), Buderus (Leeds Rhinos/Australia), O’Meley (Hull/Australia), Soliola (St Helens/New Zealand), Manu (Hull/Tonga), Fitzgibbon (Hull/Australia). Subs Faiumu (Huddersfield Giants/New Zealand), K Leuluai (Leeds/Samoa), Anderson (Warrington/New Zealand), Fa’alogo (Huddersfield/New Zealand).
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm, at Headingley Carnegie.