Leeds Rhinos’ Kruise Leeming speaks out on ‘ruthless’ England decision

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,” Leeming told the Leeds webiste. “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.”

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Philip John Hartley
Philip John Hartley
5 days ago

The first time ever I didn’t want an England win. No Leeming or Cllark in the Squad. A Centre who shouldn’t have been in the team. Yeah he maybe an English International but that was when he was playing in a good Leeds team. I think the SKY guy’s glossed over the error in Oz then the Wolf pack.
Made me mad watching Wigan R us saying well Leeming is a maybe, yet he’s a guy who let’s face it has carried a disjointed Leeds team for the last 2 year’s.
I know England have a few players injured or in Oz but don’t we have any more centres who are fit?
I go for picking on current strengths and game time. No poiint picking a player who hasn’t played this year but please as a warm up shouldn’t we see what newer younger players could do?