Tom Briscoe: I’ll have to earn my place in Leeds Rhinos team

Tom Briscoe.
Tom Briscoe.
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England winger Tom Briscoe insists he isn’t expecting to walk straight into the Leeds Rhinos team this year.

Briscoe joined Rhinos from Hull in the off-season to form part of arguably the strongest outside-back division in Super League.

The former Featherstone Lions junior was awarded squad No 20 and faces competition from Ryan Hall and Ben Jones-Bishop for a spot on the wing.

With Zak Hardaker, Joel Moon and Kallum Watkins also on the books, Leeds boss Brian McDermott has an embarrassment of riches and has allowed centres Jimmy Keinhorst and Thomas Minns and winger James Duckworth to go out on season-long loans.

Briscoe has signed a five-year contract, but stressed he isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Coming to a new team I have got to train well and earn a spot in the team,” he said.

“There’s a lot of competition and I don’t think there’s any guarantees in the backline.

“It will be interesting, but it will be good for all of us. We will be pushing each other and making each other better.”

Briscoe admitted the strength of Leeds’ backs was one of the factors which tempted him to the club.

He added: “Hopefully we can improve each other and I will get better. I am loving it here. Obviously I know a few of the boys from the England camp, they have helped me settle in really well and the rest of the boys are really good.”

Briscoe and Hall were England’s wing pairing before the former Hull man lost his place to Wigan try-machine Josh Charnley. Briscoe was selected in England’s World Cup squad last year, but played only twice and feels he does have a point to prove in 2014.

“I got to play in a couple of games, which was good,” he reflected. “But obviously it was disappointing to miss out on the big games. I enjoyed it overall. These things happen and coming to a great club I am looking to have a good season, to improve and to secure a spot in the team. I want to be playing for England and I will be doing everything I can to get back into that team. If I can improve coming to Leeds that is the goal. I have to play well for Leeds first and that’s what I will be concentrating on.

“I’ve not been in as long as some of the boys and I know they will be raring to go, but I can’t wait to get playing and get Super League underway.”

As Tom Briscoe settles in at Leeds his younger brother Luke is beginning a season-long loan at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats – which could see the two play against each other this year.

“It is good for him, it will be good for him to get some experience at Super League level,” Briscoe said of his brother, who can play anywhere in the backs, as well as at loose-forward.

“That will only do him well and hopefully he will improve this season and come back next year and be pushing for a first team spot then.”

Briscoe is set to make his first appearance for Leeds in Ryan Bailey’s testimonial game at home to London Broncos a week tomorrow.

Pontus Jansson.

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