Chase says his heart firmly belongs to England

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Rangi Chase has vowed to prove he is worthy of an England place and become a mainstay for coach Steve McNamara.

The Castleford Tigers star has been paired alongside Leeds Rhinos stand-off Kevin Sinfield for the sixth successive time when they face the Exiles tomorrow evening.

It was only 12 months ago that the New Zealand-born stand-off gave a man-of-the-match display for the Exiles against England at Headingley.

He switched allegiance, though, on the grounds of residency and established himself in the Four Nations.

Many thought Chase could lose his place to Huddersfield’s Danny Brough given Castleford have struggled so much this term.

But he is confident in his own ability and said: “Just because I won Man of Steel last year and now we’re not winning at Cas’ people say the pressure is getting to me.

“But that’s a load of garbage really. We’re just not going well as a team and things aren’t working out. I don’t think I’m playing as badly as some people make out.

“People tell you how well you’re going but I know myself and I’m okay with the way I am.

“And my heart is 100 per cent behind England. I’ve got a little English boy now and no matter what I do after rugby, I’ll be living in England.

“It’s a privilege every time to pull on the England jumper.”

McNamara hands England debuts to Leeds Rhinos centre Carl Ablett, Wigan winger Josh Charnley and Wigan prop Lee Mossop, while Leeds hooker Rob Burrow gets a recall on the bench.

The Exiles have drafted in Huddersfield’s Kiwi second-row David Fa’alogo and he could come straight into the side.

Meanwhile, in-demand Bradford Bulls second-row John Bateman captains England Academy against France at Odsal tonight.

Warrington Wolves are monitoring the 18-year-old’s startling development after his stunning performances in Super League and are armed with a six-figure bid.

However, Academy coach Dave Elliott said that is no reason for him not to play this evening.

“Many people have said that John (Bateman) has progressed beyond the 18s level but that’s not what it’s about – this is about playing for England,” he said.

“John’s experience is vital for the group but he’ll be the first to admit that’s it’s not the be-all and end-all in the circumstance.”

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