Richie Myler returns to the England side for the first time in six years on Wednesday evening. The Leeds scrum-half has not played for the national side since 2012, but will start against France in Leigh after being drafted into Wayne Bennett’s squad for the autumn internationals as a late replacement for the injured Luke Gale.When asked if he has anything to prove in terms of his international credentials, Myler agreed: “I think so, yeah. There’s no point hiding away from it. It was getting to the stage where I’d thought the time had passed,” Myler said. “I never gave up, there were a few people in front of me but that’s sport, isn’t it. I’ll grab this chance with both hands and give it my best.”
Myler, who was Leeds’s player of the year, played the first of his six England games as an 18- year- old before finding opportunities difficult to come by in recent years, but he believes he returns to the international fold a more mature player than the one who last played for his country six years ago.
“I was amongst this lot very young,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of growing up since I debuted for England, and maybe I took it for granted a little bit. You’re young and dumb and when it’s taken away from you and it looks like you may never get the opportunity again, it’s a lot sweeter when it does come around again.
“I get my first crack at it on Wednesday against France, and it’s up to me to take the opportunity, which I intend to do. It’d be great to play against the Kiwis [in the three-Test series that begins on 27 October], but my focus is just on delivering on Wednesday so I’m in with a chance. I’ve got to perform, and if I do, I think I’ve got a chance.”
Myler will be part of a much-changed England side on Wednesday night. With both numerous injuries and the unavailability of the Wigan and Warrington players who featured in Saturday’s Grand Final, Bennett will hand out eight debuts – and the coach admits said he is still undecided on his team to face New Zealand in the first Test at Hull next weekend.
“A couple of guys with good performances against France could squeeze themselves in,” Bennett he said. “We’re at a phase where 12 players are missing from the World Cup for one reason or another. We just need to take a step back and focus on playing well this autumn.”
Team: J Shaul (Hull); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), R Lyne (Wakefield), M Percival (St Helens), T Johnstone (Wakefield); J Connor (Hull), R Myler (Leeds); T Burgess (South Sydney), J Hodgson (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt), E Whitehead (Canberra), O Holmes (Castleford), G Burgess (South Sydney). Subs: L Sutcliffe (Leeds), R Mulhern (Hull KR), L Thompson (St Helens), A Milner (Castleford).