Peacock hungry to lead England against the Exiles
Jamie Peacock has today revealed his desire to be reinstated as England captain for the forthcoming International Origin Match against the Exiles at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Friday June 10.
The Leeds Rhinos prop has not led his country since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery at the end of the 2010 season, an operation which ruled him out of England’s trip Down Under for the Four Nations.
The captaincy was taken up by Warrington prop Adrian Morley, who suffered an arm injury in his first match against the New Zealand Maori, before James Graham, the St Helens prop, was appointed to the role for the three Four Nations fixture.
However a full-fit Peacock, who returned to action last month, is hungry to return to lead England against the Exiles, a team drawn from the elite Australian and New Zealand players in Engage Super League, in little more than two weeks time.
“Captaining my country means everything to me, it’s a great honour and something I want to do as often as I can,” said Peacock.
“Obviously the decision is down to Steve (McNamara) and he knows how I feel. But that doesn’t mean it’s all or nothing for me.
“If I’m captain, then great; if I’m not, it will still be great to play for England. If Steve decides to appoint someone else then my commitment to England won’t be affected in the slightest.”
England coach McNamara is scheduled to reveal the identity of his captain next week when he announces the make-up of the England squad to take on the Exiles in a fixture which Peacock believes will prove to be one of the highlights of the sporting calendar.
“The International Origin Match is a great concept and it’s fantastic that players involved with both England and Exiles have been so fully behind it from the start,” said Peacock.
“The time has come for the fans to get behind this game, they need to turn out in massive numbers to fill Headingley and help us kick this idea on.”
Peacock is dismissive of any suggestion that the match will be anything other than a full-blooded affair, especially as it pits club-mates versus club-mates.
“The overseas players at Leeds have been saying they’re going to give it 100 per cent commitment and we’ll be doing the same. I have some good mates involved with the Exiles but that doesn’t mean anything on the day – I’ll be doing whatever it takes to win,” he said.
“We’re not contemplating losing the game and I know from what the Aussie and Kiwi players are telling me, neither are they.
“My focus is on going into this game with the most positive attitude that I can. If we all do that then so much the better.
“I’ve been impressed by the quality of the selections for the Exiles. There are some very high quality overseas players in Super League and that’s reflected in the calibre of the players coach Brian McClennan and the fans have been picking.”
England will go into camp ahead of the International Origin Match on Sunday week, their third get together of a year which has seen the country’s best players enjoy unprecedented levels of preparation time.
“The camps have been a very important aspect of our preparation, they’ve helped players identify with England and overcome the tribal rivalries that build up over the course of a Super League season,” added Peacock.
“To create the club-style environment needed to be successful as a group of players it’s important to spend time together.
“What’s become apparent from the two camps we have had so far is that club affiliations don’t matter. It’s important we continue with that and develop it further.
If we are to beat the Exiles, win the Four Nations and be successful in the 2013 World Cup we need as much preparation as we can get.”
In a unique concept to British sport, the final Exiles 22-man squad will be chosen in part by the public. The fans have chosen 13 of the 22 squad members to face England and the remaining nine selections will be made by the Exiles coach, Brian McClennan, and his assistant Terry Matterson.
Pre-purchased tickets for the International Origin Match start from £19 for adults and £12 concessions and are available at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by contacting the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113. Tickets purchased on the day of the match start from £22 for adults and £15 for concessions.