ENGLAND Knights and Warrington Wolves player Rhys Evans believes the forthcoming Alitalia European Cup competition gives the Knights players the perfect opportunity to place themselves in England coach Steve McNamara’s World Cup thinking.
The Knights take on Ireland in their opening game in Belfast on Saturday (6.00pm) and the winger says the experience will be vital for the group if they are to claim a place in McNamara’s Rugby League World Cup 2013 squad.
“Everyone aspires to play in the World Cup for England and we know that this is a great step in that direction,” said Evans.
“Most of us in this squad are quite young and playing for the Knights is a great building block for us. We all have ambitions to be playing for the senior side so having the opportunity to compete in international fixtures can only help us with that progression.
“We know we’ll have two tough games to test ourselves and show what we’re capable of over the next few weeks. Both teams (Ireland and Scotland) have quality players in their squads with guys like Tyrone McCarthy in the ranks so it’s not going to be easy.”
Evans is no stranger to an England jersey having played a starring role during England Academy’s 2-0 series victory over the Australian Schoolboys in 2010 and the young star believes that experience has been instrumental in his development.
“The experience of playing in tough games against teams like the Australian Schoolboys with the Academy and learning not to be afraid of any team has been great for me,” said Evans.
“Being involved with the Academy has also made the progression to the Knights easier as there isn’t too much difference between the Academy and Knights set-ups.
“There are many similar practices at both levels which makes the transition easier for the players coming through. The Knights is a step up in terms of professionalism and intensity and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
“It’s been great to be involved in the camp and there’s a great group of players here. I’m really looking forward to the game now and hopefully I’ll get the chance to play and do well.”
England begin their Alitalia European Cup campaign against Ireland in Belfast’s Deramore Park on Saturday October 20 (6.00pm) before taking on Scotland at the Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh, on Sunday October 28 (2.00pm).