Ryan Hall insists he never gave up on England dream as he targets third World Cup

As he watched game after game from the stands during an injury-ravaged spell in the NRL, Ryan Hall could have been forgiven for thinking his international days were behind him.

By James OBrien
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 6:00 am

England’s all-time record tryscorer was on the back foot before he even arrived in Australia after sustaining an ACL injury with the ink still drying on the contract that took him to Sydney Roosters in 2018.

Hall went on to dislocate the same knee twice the following year, with those setbacks restricting him to 11 appearances during his time Down Under.

But the former Leeds Rhinos winger rebuilt himself and never gave up on his international career.

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Ryan Hall is back in England colours. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Now, Hall has the opportunity to add to his 38 caps - four years on from his last - after being named in Shaun Wane’s squad for Saturday’s clash with the Combined Nations All Stars.

It is a reward not only for his form in Hull KR colours, but for his perseverance during the dark times.

“I’m really satisfied with myself,” the 34-year-old told The Yorkshire Post.

“I’ve been away from England for four years but I’ve forced my way back in through my form at Hull KR.

Ryan Hall touching down on his last England appearance in 2018. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“It was one of my goals to get back in again. There are always going to be doubters because of my age and what’s gone on before but it’s really pleasing to get in through hard work.

“I always had confidence within myself to get myself back into the fold and perform at this level again.

“Obviously last year when I didn’t get picked I was a bit disappointed but I never doubted it for a second because I knew there was always next year. As long as I’m playing on the field it’s in my power.

“Thankfully, Shaun has picked up on that and put me in this time.”

Ryan Hall, right, in action during the 2017 World Cup semi-final against Tonga. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Hall has scored 28 tries in 38 games since joining Hull KR from the Roosters ahead of the 2021 season - but his efforts out of backfield caught Wane’s attention.

Ranking in the top four in Super League for both carries and metres, Hall appears to have been earmarked by Wane for the World Cup opener against a physically imposing Samoa side.

But there is no chance of complacency creeping into his game.

“I do take pride in that (backfield work) but you can always improve,” said Hall.

Ryan Hall has lost nine out of nine against Australia. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“A lot can happen between this weekend and the end of the season. I’m in a sought-after position with lots of competition for the spot I’ve currently got for this week.

“If I choose to sit back and start resting on what I think might happen, I’m sure it will be taken away from me.

“I’ve got a lot of hard work to do and I’m prepared to do that.”

A strong performance this weekend would go a long way to cementing Hall in Wane’s plans for the World Cup.

Ellery Hanley was hit by a spate of withdrawals but England are set to face a strong All Stars side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“It’s definitely going to be Test match intensity,” said Hall.

“That’s what this game is designed for. You want to play intense games to prepare yourself for what’s to come at the end of the year.

“It’s important that we perform against a quality side. We play against these players every week in Super League so we know what we’re up against.

“There are going to be no easy games at the World Cup so it’s good that Combined Nations have got a good squad together to give us a real test.”

Hull KR team-mates Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Matt Parcell are among the familiar faces Hall will come up against on Saturday.

His left-edge partner throughout his time at Craven Park, Hall is anticipating a strange evening up against Kenny-Dowall.

“It will be because we’ve spent the past 18 months by the side of each other,” said Hall.

“I’ve played against him in the past as well so I know all about his quality. He’s a good player - as is Matty - and you’ve got to respect that a little bit.

“But as soon as the game kicks off you put that to the side for 80 minutes.”

The mid-season fixture represents a chance for Hall to extend his record 35 tries for his country.

If everything goes to plan, Hall will get the opportunity to play in a third World Cup and finally be part of a winning team against Australia at the 10th attempt.

“It’s a massive motivation,” said Hall. “It’s the biggest international competition there is.

“I’ve played in two of them so far and got progressively closer. Hopefully this time we can go even further and win the thing.

“It would be really nice to get the better of Australia. I’ve had a couple of close encounters with them including the last time we played them in the World Cup final. That sticks in the memory as a very intense game.

“They are a good team and champions for a reason but it would be nice to get one over them.”