LEEDS RHINOS’ Liam Sutcliffe did not mind briefly playing truant at college - as it meant he discovered he was in line for a surprise England debut.
The 23-year-old is currently in Brisbane having yesterday flown out to Australia with the England Knights squad.
However, firstly, the utility-back pulled on the senior jersey for the first time in Wednesday night’s 44-6 win over France in Leigh.
Sutcliffe was one of four Knights players drafted into Wayne Bennett’s squad to help fill the void left by nine Grand Finalists who were rested ahead of the forthcoming Kiwis series.
“I was in college last Thursday night when I got the call from JP (England team manager Jamie Peacock),” explained the player, who is studying plumbing at Leeds Building College.
“I just shot out of class and I wasn’t sure what it was going to be about.
“But he said ‘you’re going to be with us on Sunday and maybe playing Wednesday’.
“I walked back into the classroom with a bit of a buzz.
“Sunday, Monday and Tuesday has been quality being around all these types of players.
“Then, to get on and make my England debut, was great.
“It was just a great experience to be out there with all these sorts of players.
“The whole thing of being presented with my first cap, too, and things like that is something I won’t ever forget.”
Leeds-born Sutcliffe initially emerged at Rhinos as a stand-off but has also spent plenty of time at centre for the club.
However, he came on at second-row in the second half, replacing Canberra Raiders star Elliott Whitehead.
“It was a bit different,” admitted the player, who many feel will eventually settle as a No13.
“It’s something I've not been used to throughout this year so my lungs were going.
“I made a couple of mistakes but it was just about the experience of being out there which was great.”
On the legendary Bennett, Sutcliffe added: “It’s been great to work with him this week and just see how he is.
“Obviously you hear a lot about him in Australia - a big-name coach - and to learn a few things off him has been brilliant.
“Now the Knights tour is something I’ve really been looking forward to.
“Everyone just wanted to get there after Wednesday and get ripped in in training at Brisbane and then on to Papua New Guinea for those two games.”