Chase pledges his future to England RL
The RFL has pulled off a major coup with the call up of Castleford Tigers stand-off Rangi Chase into the England train-on squad ahead of the 2011 Gillette Four Nations.
Although born in New Zealand, the 25-year-old, who has been nominated for the 2011 Man of Steel, has never played for the country of his birth and qualifies to play for England on residency grounds. The RFL are now in the process of finalising documentation to the RLIF board in confirming and demonstrating his eligibility. Chase will join up with the train-on squad this week as preparations continue for next month’s international programme.
“It’s excellent news that Rangi wants to play for England and commit his long-term future to our international programme,” said McNamara.
“I have met with Rangi and he has shown to me that he is totally committed in playing for England and he can’t wait to be part of our plans. It is exciting news that we have a player of Rangi’s quality available to us. His presence will enhance the Elite Training Squad and will add great competition for places, especially in the crucial half-back role. I am really looking forward to working with him during our preparations in the build up to the Gillette Four Nations.”
Chase, who came to England in 2008, has been one of the outstanding players in the 2011 Engage Super League. On the back of his best season to date he, last week, committed his long-term future to the sport in England by signing a contract extension with club side Castleford until 2015 and he feels now is the time to be part of England’s plans for many years to come.
“I have thought long and hard about the opportunity of playing for England after I became eligible to play,” said Chase.
“I approached Steve McNamara and explained that I wanted to play for England and more importantly show my commitment. England, and in particular Castleford, is my home now and I want to lay my long-term roots here. I have an English girlfriend and signing a new contract with Castleford, last week, was a big deal for me. I don’t want to play anywhere else.
“I have resurrected my life in England and feel more at ease here than anywhere else in the world. I spend all my time at home and don’t go back to New Zealand in the off season.
“Getting selected for England will be my greatest honour. You can feel there is something special being built and I want to do everything I can to help England achieve international success.”
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood has reiterated that Chase’s presence in the England squad can be seen as a real boost to the nation’s plans in the build up to the Four Nations.
“The RFL want to give Steve McNamara the greatest opportunity to select the best players available to him - that’s vitally important if we are going to progress on the international stage,” said Wood.
“There is no change of policy: we remain committed to increasing the quantity and quality of club trained talent and our commitment to programmes like the Elite Training Squad is undiminished. Like many of our competitors, we want to develop squad depth and competition for places and the inclusion of Rangi in the train-on squad alongside the other quality players we have brought in recently can only benefit England against the best teams in the world.”
Meanwhile, Huddersfield Giants forward Eorl Crabtree has had to withdraw from England’s train-on squad. The 28-year-old will have an operation on a shoulder problem, which rules him out of the Four Nations. Furthermore, Huddersfield’s England Knights quartet of Dale Ferguson (shoulder), Michael Lawrence (wrist), Jermaine McGilvary (ankle) and Larne Patrick (shoulder) have all had to pull out of the train-on squad in the build up to next month’s international programme against France and Samoa respectively.
England start their Gillette Four Nations campaign on Saturday October 29 when they take on Wales at Leigh Sports Village (2.30pm) with tickets priced at just £10 adults and £5 concessions.
The tournament moves to Wembley Stadium on Saturday November 5 when Wales face New Zealand at 1.00pm before England clash with Australia at 3.30pm.
England’s remaining game against New Zealand will be played at the KC Stadium in Hull on Saturday November 12 (6.00pm) and tickets are priced from £20 adult and £10 concession.
The 2011 Gillette Four Nations final will be played at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday November 19 (6.00pm) and tickets are priced from £20 Adult and £10 concession.
Tickets for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations can be purchased by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk