John Bateman determined to return and fight for England's cause

Canberra-bound England international John Bateman says he would not hesitate to fly back home for a mid-season Test in 2019.

England's Chris Hill & John Bateman celebrate victory over New Zealand at Anfield. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

The 25-year-old back-row forward played his last match on English soil as a Wigan player in England’s 34-0 defeat by New Zealand in the third Test at Elland Road on Sunday.

Bateman is joining compatriots Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson at the Raiders in 2019 on a three-year contract but would jump at the chance to add to his 15 caps if England coach Wayne Bennett is granted his wish for a summer international.

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“One hundred per cent,” he said. “I can’t see why people wouldn’t want to play for their country.

“I know it’s long travel but playing for your country is one of the proudest things you can do and I’d do it week in, week out if I could.

“It’s a special occasion and you want to embrace it. It doesn’t last forever.

“We’ll see what’s happening first but I can’t wait to get back with this group of lads.”

Although no provision has been made in the 2019 Super League fixture list for a mid-season international break, Bennett is still hoping the Rugby Football League will arrange a game, with France or Ireland potential opponents, to maintain the momentum built up over the last two years.

England’s four-match winning run was abruptly ended by their six-try thrashing by the Kiwis but Bateman puts that down to a blip partly caused by a raft of injuries that decimated the team that reached the World Cup final last December.