Bring on the Exiles says Leeds Rhinos star

Leeds Rhinos winger Tom Briscoe reckons an Exiles fixture would be ideal preparation for England ahead of the 2021 World Cup.

A match against foreign players based in Super League is an option after this year’s Ashes series was cancelled because of coronavirus.

England faced Exiles four times from 2011-2013 and Briscoe, who played in two of those matches, reckons they could field an even stronger team now.

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“The signings over the last few seasons in Super League have been great," the former Hull man said.

Tom Briscoe scores for Rhinos against Huddersfield last August, seconds before limping off with serious knee damage. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“You only need to look at the quality we have got at the Rhinos and with Greg Inglis already coming over next season and others.

"There are now some top names in our competition.

“That first Exiles team was top class, but I think a new one could be the equal or even better. It would certainly be a worthwhile test for the squad.”

Leeds' Harry Newman and Luke Gale are in England contention and teammates Ava Seumanufagai, Adam Cuthbertson, Konrad Hurrell, Matt Prior, Rob Lui and Rhyse Martin would all be candidates for Exiles selection.

Leeds Rhinos' Luke Gale is hoping for an England World Cup call-up. Picture by Steve Riding/

Briscoe, 30, insisted: “I think it is a good idea.

“Getting to pull on the England shirt is always a great and proud moment so to give players the opportunity to play a game like this is important.

“The quality of overseas players is outstanding at the moment; to play against that quality of team would be great preparations for the England squad.

“They were tough games so I have no doubt it would be ideal from a performance side, but for it to succeed as a spectacle we need more buy in from everyone else.

Rhinos' Papua New Guinean forward Rhyse Martin could be a contender fpr a revived Exiles side. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“There are obviously going to be challenges moving around in the next year, but this would be ideal as everyone is already here in England. “

Briscoe was on the point of returning from a knee reconstruction when Covid-19 brought Betfred Super League to a halt, but has been putting his time to good use during lockdown.

With a young family, he has been fitting in training around home schooling and completed his sport and exercise science degree with Leeds Beckett University.

“I have been enjoying the chance to spend time with my young family and make the most of that experience,” he said.

“I handed in my last assignment last week and it has been six years of tough graft, fitting in my uni work around training and the family.

“It has meant some long evenings to get the work done when the kids have gone to bed to make sure I made all my deadlines, but I am proud to have achieved it and stuck to it.

“The graduation has been postponed until further notice, but they have said we will get a certificate with our results.

“I am hoping to get a first and just needed to pass my last assignment to get that. It has been hard work, but I have tried my hardest and thankfully it has paid off.

“I have managed to keep my grades above 70 per cent and that would be a great achievement to get a first.”

Briscoe could be back on the teamsheet, for the first time since last August, when Super League eventually resumes.

He said: “The week I was due to make my comeback was the week we went into lockdown so the timing could have been better.

“I have been trying to maintain the standard I was at. The training I have been able to do is limited and obviously not as good as if we were in training at the club, but I was ready to play so I didn’t need physio work. That was a bonus.

“The other advantage is that I have had a couple of extra months to make sure my knee is properly healed.

“I was coming back on the quicker side of things so a few weeks extra will not do any harm.”

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