Andy Ackers is living the dream.
The Salford Red Devils hooker seemingly came out of nowhere to beat Warrington Wolves’ Daryl Clark, Castleford Tigers’ Paul McShane, and Leeds Rhinos’ Kruise Leeming to a place in Shaun Wane’s England squad alongside Catalans Dragons Michael McIlorum.
He was a real star of Salford’s play-off push in Super League scoring a mesmeric try against Huddersfield Giants in the play-offs on route to colliding with Kristian Woolf’s St Helens side in the semi-finals as they came up just short of joining Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final.
Ackers was handed an England test debut against France and made a real impression prior to scoring two tries in his first test start against Greece at Bramall Lane.
Ackers also scored against Fiji in England’s warm-up game.
Though he missed out on the quarter-final against Papua New Guinea last week at Wigan Warriors’ DW Stadium and will again miss the semi-final against Samoa today, it is still no doubt a career highlight for Ackers.
Especially based on the guest he got to meet this week in England camp.
This week Ant Middleton, instructor on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins spoke to the squad.
He also climbed Everest back in 2018.
The visit left Ackers “starstruck” as he took to social media to reveal that Middleton was the man drafted in by Shaun Wane to speak to the squad ahead of their semi-final clash against Samoa.
It is Samoa set to have to climb a mountain today though based on the opening game result between the two sides as England defeated them 60-6.