UNCAPPED Wakefield Trinity centre Reece Lyne admits he was “surprised” by his England call-up as he did not even expect to be named for his country’s second string.
The powerful three-quarter was rewarded for a fine campaign by today being included in Wayne Bennett’s 24-man squad for the autumn internationals against France and New Zealand.
Lyne, 25, was in the running for the England Knights tour to Papua New Guinea but his fine form has seen him catapulted into the main squad as one of five untried players.
"It came as a bit of a surprise,” he admitted, with Wakefield team-mate Tom Johntone, Castleford Tigers' Adam Milner, St Helens' Luke Thompson and Wigan Warriors' Joe Greenwood the other four rookies.
“I was expecting a phone call off (England Knights coach) Paul Anderson sometime in the day.
“I wasn’t really expecting that (to go to Papua New Guinea) just hoping, just expecting the phone call and just waiting really to find out.
“So to get the call off (England football manager) Jamie Peacock it was overwhelming really.
“I was just over the moon. I am still pinching myself now really.”
With Leeds Rhinos’ Kallum Watkins out injured until 2019, Lyne gets an opportunity to impress although he will have to get past the likely pairing of St Helens’ Mark Percival and Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman to make the Test side.
However, The Yorkshire Post understands players featuring in the Grand Final on October 13 will not play against France at Leigh the following Wednesday so there is a chance those two may be absent for that first international before the three Test home series against the Kiwis.
Hull FC’s Jake Connor can also be used at centre and Lyne will be looking to impress Bennett in training when the players go into camp.
This has been the best season in his career so far and he admitted: “I just think I’ve been happy off the field.
“My partner’s played a big part in that, she’s been really good.
“The group we’ve got here (Wakefield) is a really special group.
“We enjoy coming to training every day and really enjoy it and the style of rugby we are playing has given us that freedom to express ourselves.”
At 25, he is a late arrival to the international stage but he has certainly flourished with Trinity since joining in 2012 from hometown Hull FC where he struggled for game-time.
Each year the strapping centre has progressed and he added: “When I moved here from Hull FC I was only 19.
“There was still plenty of time. I came here to get some regular first team and try and establish myself as a first team player.
“Richard Agar was here as well who did a lot for me and gave me my start at Hull FC.
“Sometimes in life you have to take a step back to take two forward and that’s exactly what I thought.
“I thought moving away from Hull and growing up a bit, living on my own over here, was the right thing to do and the right time.”
There is now, of course, he could play for England at his former club as the first Test versus the Kiwis is at KCOM Stadium on October 27.
“To play at Hull would be awesome,” added Lyne.
“I’ve not really thought about that, but to play in my home town would be amazing.”
The only downside is that he has now missed out on visiting Papua New Guinea...
“That would have been once in a lifetime experience,” added Lyne.
“But obviously I set out to play for the England senior team so that’s more important.
“I’m not too keen a flyer though so there’s a bit of a relief I don’t have to fly all that way to Australia!”