Leeming focused on doing his job for All Stars

Leeds Rhinos skipper Kruise Leeming says he can not get distracted by outside noise ahead of the Combined Nations All Stars clash with England wants to do his best for the invitational side and hopefully help them to back to back victories. 

Leeming had been tipped to be in Shaun Wane’s England squad but he will instead line up against them, as he did a year ago when he helped to hand Wane a defeat in his first game in charge of the national side. 

Back in 2021, Leeming came off the bench as the All Stars won 24-26 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, the same venue for Saturday’s repeat clash. However, Leeming is not letting outside distractions influence his preparation. “I’ve just got to go out there and do my job for the All Stars,” said Leeming. Hopefully I can come off that field and say I did play better than them. That’s what I want to do.

“People remember these games. If you have a bad performance on this stage even though there are 12 games left in the season, it sticks in people’s minds. People that don’t usually watch rugby will be watching this game because it’s England.

“It is crucial to my World Cup hopes but I won’t be putting too much pressure on myself. I’ve been playing good rugby. I just need to go out there and do what I do.”

The Combined Nations All Stars are coached by Rugby League legend Ellery Hanley and will provide strong opposition for Shaun Wane’s England side in one of only two warm up fixtures this year ahead of the home World Cup. The game is part of a double header of international Rugby League this Saturday, 18th June,  both at the Halliwell Jones Stadium with England Women facing France, kick off 3.15pm, followed by the mens international at 5.45pm. Both games are live on Sky Sports.

Leeming is joined in the All Stars side by another England hooker in Daryl Clark and the pair will be up against the incumbent number nine, Paul McShane, and former Irish international Michael McIlorum, who has now reverted back to England. 

Whilst Leeming is disappointed to miss out on a call up to the England side, having made his debut in Perpignan at the end of last season, he says he does not lack motivation to produce his best for Ellery Hanley’s side. 

He added, ” I know sport is a ruthless business and it was a pleasant reminder of how ruthless it can be. Shaun Wane rang me and told me what I need to improve on so that’s what I’m going to be working on.

“It could have been worse – it could have been two days out from a World Cup and there’s no going back. At least it’s given me some motivation over the next few months to get picked at the end of the year.

“But I’m not playing this game to get picked for England; I’m playing this game to represent Eswatini and the All Stars.”

Earlier this year Rugby League supporters in England and around the world rallied to support Tonga following the Pacific nation’s devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in January. On Saturday both mens sides will wear unique, Tonga-inspired shirts for the match. Supporters can continue to raise funds for those affected by purchasing replica shirts which are on sale here. £10 from each shirt sale will be donated to a tsunami relief fund. 

Tickets for the men’s and women’s double-header at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium are available to buy now from only £20 Adults and £10 Under 16s here.