Jake Connor (left) celebrates a try for England against France in 2018 (Image: Getty Images)
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Jake Connor aims to thrust himself into England World Cup contention – by shooting down his own country.
Connor has five England caps to go alongside three for Great Britain and has been one of the form players in the competition this year for Hull FC. But he has been overlooked by national boss Shaun Wane in favour of Sam Tomkins, and tomorrow night will play against England for the Combined Nations All Stars.
It’s a prospect the 26-year-old is relishing. Connor said: “It got brought up a couple of weeks ago in a conversation and I liked the idea of it. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be in that England squad, I thought why not?
Connor has been in excellent form for his club side Hull
(Image: Getty Images)
“I want to play on the best stages and this will be a big test. I had one conversation with Shaun the other day – it was a personal conversation but it was around what I can do to put my foot in the door for England.
“I know what I’ve got to do, I’ve got to keep playing well and hopefully at the back end of the year I can force my way in there. Playing against England will be a bit weird but you want to play in the big games.”
Connor credits club coach Brett Hodgson with his improved consistency this season after he put faith him at full-back rather than continually switch positions. Ironically that could work against him for England with Wane backing his former Wigan no.1 Tomkins so far – but Connor insists that doesn’t faze him.
Connor also represented Great Britain on the 2019 Lions tour
(Image: Kai Schwoerer)
He said: “I said I wanted to play where I get the ball most and full-back is that position. There’s great full-backs in the competition and it will be tough to pick one out – but I’m concentrating on club level and trying to get to that Grand Final. Sam’s a great player but I need to focus on myself and what I do well.”
Connor also revealed another motivation to represent the All Stars team – his granddad is from Trinidad. And he believes Tim Sheens’ side has the ability to trouble England despite a host of pre-match issues over player availability.
Connor added: “We’re going to throw the ball around a bit and there’s a lot of talent in this team. We can cause England problems, 100 percent, with the players we’ve got. I think it’s a great team and we can get the job done.”