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ELLIS TALKS ON THE FOUR NATIONS
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Wests Tigers second-rower Gareth Ellis says it is time for England to prove itself again on the international stage in the Four Nations tournament.
Ellis spoke to Wests Tigers Media Officer Wayne Cousins about his thoughts on the Four Nations, the anticipated friendly banter with Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, to the signing of prop Jason Cayless.
WC: How has the build up been to England’s first match in the Four Nations?. France were disappointing in the World Cup but they do have a few Super League players and an ex NRL player in Clint Greenshields. You do have to hit the ground running in this tournament.
GE: Without a doubt, last year in the World Cup, we (England) set ourselves high targets and a poor performance against PNG had a knock on effect for the remaining games. Similar to ourselves, France were disappointed with their World Cup performance so both teams have something to prove this time round and show the rugby league world what they are capable of. The build up to this year’s tournament has been really good and its the first time for a while that I have been involved in the training squad so early on. As disappointing as it was not to make the NRL play-offs with the Tigers, it gave me the opportunity to get back on home soil and concentrate on getting myself ready for the tournament.
WC: How are you feeling and how is the body holding up after a long season in the NRL?
GE: Very good actually, I think the break from finishing with the Tigers to playing this week has freshened me up. I have benefited this year from having a good pre-season in Australia back in January under the sun as opposed to the wind and rain in the UK. Because of the extra games played in Super League, international players only get a few weeks preparation as the season starts much earlier (late January) and trials a couple of weeks earlier.
WC: Has there been any friendly text messages between you, Benji, Robbie or Tim yet?
GE: Not as yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if i receive some banter from Robbie or Benj in the build up to our games. Tim on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be upsetting him as I’ve quite enjoyed playing first grade this year! However scoring the winning try against his Aussie team would be nice. I must be due one soon.
WC: How do you see the clash between Australia and NZ?
GE: I’m really looking forward to it with both teams having a lot to play for. New Zealand come into the competition with the World Champions crown to defend. Australia has a point to prove, having been defeated by NZ last year. However having experienced the NRL last year and taking nothing away from the magnificent achievement of NZ and the many great players they have playing in the NRL, I still see Australia as the team to beat.
WC: How good was it to see Robbie Farah selected for Australia?
GE: I was really pleased for Robbie but I am not surprised. Having played with him this year, I came to learn what a fantastic player he is and couldn’t understand why he hadn’t earned more representative honours already. But he’s been patient playing understudy to some great hookers in Danny Buderus and Cameron Smith and I’m sure when he gets his opportunity, he’ll grab it with both hands.
WC: You must be pleased with the signing of big prop Jason Cayless for two years?
GE: I think Jason will be a great signing for the club and will add a lot to our pack alongside the likes of big Keith Galloway and Bryce Gibbs. I played against him many times when he was at St Helens and I’m glad he’ll be on my side this time around. I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.