England v Scotland: Hall shrugs off talk of negative mindset in England camp

Ryan Hall.
Ryan Hall.
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defiant Ryan Hall approaches his 30th Test insisting under-pressure England do not have a negative issue with their mindset.

The Leeds Rhinos winger, who has scored 29 tries in as many games for his country, will look to mark his latest milestone in customary fashion tonight when they face Scotland in the Ladbrokes Four Nations.

Wayne Bennett’s side are clear favourites to win in Coventry but the coach has questioned his side’s mindset after a 17-16 defeat to New Zealand a week ago continued their traditional problem of losing tight games.

However, when asked if he agreed, Hall maintained: “I don’t think so. No. You have to get your mindset right – that’s just a given.

“But I think we have the right people in our squad and some champion players who have won great accolades along the way so they know how to win.

“I don’t think it’s a mentality thing as everyone’s got the right mentality to win games.”

Hall remains his country’s record try-scorer having eclipsed England team-mate Sam Tomkins when his hat-trick against Ireland in the 2013 World Cup took him to 17.

To go on and build such a strike rate at international level, and prove so consistent since his debut in 2008, is a remarkable feat.

“If you’d have asked me when I first started out would I ever get one cap never mind 30 I’d be hard pushed to say yes,” said the 28-year-old, who, like every English player since Great Britain’s 1972 World Cup win, still awaits a first major international trophy.

“I’m really proud of this to get 30 caps and the try-scoring is just a by-product of playing in a good team. It’d be great to keep the record going and the consistency aspect is what you need to play international rugby.

“There are fine lines between winning and losing. As you saw last weekend we lost by a point and probably weren’t our most clinical in some areas towards the back end of the game.

“We blew some opportunities and ultimately that’s why we lost.”

For the fourth successive game, Hall will have a different centre partner tonight with St Helens’ Mark Percival, who debuted in France, recalled in place of Dan Sarginson.

Wigan Warriors’ second-row John Bateman was his partner in the Test series win over the Kiwis last autumn.

“I just play what’s in front of me,” insisted the Yorkshireman.

“I trust playing for England that the person picked alongside me will be the best person to fit that position.

“Last year John was playing there for Wigan and playing really well and duly deserved his call up to centre spot. You just get on with it and I spent some time developing partnership with him in early part of that camp – see what he likes and get to read on that.

“Then Mark Percival against France, you get to that bit of process where you start developing combinations with him and learning from him.

“That goes okay, then Sarge plays last week but I’d played with him before so already had a bit of groundwork there done, too.

“We look to Scotland now. They’ve Super League players across the park with a few NRL players so we know they’re capable and the standard will be high.”