IT is arguably the strongest position in England’s ranks but Huddersfield Giants’ Kruise Leeming is relishing the chance to eventually become his country’s main hooker.
Having just turned 23, he is viewed as a player for the future by the international selectors, illustrated by the fact he is on the England Knights tour of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Plenty of players on that trip are envisaged as being contenders for the 2021 World Cup so Leeming knows he has the chance to impress.
But with the likes of former Man of Steel Danny Houghton and Castleford Tigers’ player-of-the-year Paul McShane not even in the England frame, it shows how much competition there is for the No 9 role.
Leeming said: “If you ask anyone else they’d probably say their own position is toughest but I think that (hooker) is where we’re strongest.
“We’ve Daryl Clark, James Roby, Josh Hodgson (for England) that are all world-class players and could all be tipped as the best around.
“But competition is a good thing to have; it brings the best out of people.”
Leeming has linked with his former Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson, who is now in charge of the Knights for their three-week tour that includes two games against the Kumuls in Papua New Guinea.
He explained: “He was there through all my academy days so I’ve worked with him before. We’re training at Brisbane Broncos’ ground for the first week so that’ll be good and I’m hugely honoured and looking forward to the opportunity as they might never do this trip again.
“I’m lucky to be one of the 24 selected. My Huddersfield team-mate Ollie Roberts went to PNG with Ireland last year in the World Cup so he’s tipped me up about what to expect and how it’s just a different world. I’m really going to enjoy it.
“It was good to get into camp and get that first session out of the way on Wednesday.
“Everyone plays the same way - it’s just different calls from different clubs - but people naturally start talking out there and getting to gel with each other.
Leeming and the rest of the England Knights squad faced England Academy in a training game before then watching the senior squad beat France 44-6 at Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday.
They flew out earlier today and he is looking forward to getting back into action having not played since Huddersfield’s final game of the season, the 22-12 loss in Perpignan on September 29.
“I had 10 days off and then started training with England (Knights) so I couldn’t really get away,” explained Leeming.
“I just stayed fit and got back training with them - and Australia and PNG is not a bad place to go play rugby!
“I’ve never been to Australia before so it’s all new and PNG will be great to see something new like that with your own eyes.”