Hock hasn't given up on England call

Gareth Hock would not turn down an offer to play again for England, the former Wigan forward says.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 7:20 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:20 am
Gareth Hock. Picture: Paul McCarthy

Hock has not played for his country since being axed as a disciplinary measure on the eve of the 2013 World Cup but he has enjoyed a new lease of life at Leigh, whose coach Neil Jukes claimed he would be worthy of a call-up for the 2017 World Cup after outplaying current England props Chris Hill and Mike Cooper in his last match.

The former Wigan second rower, who is now revelling in the role of prop, helped the Centurions gain promotion to Super League and is their leading tryscorer so far, having touched down twice in their 22-8 win over Warrington last Thursday.

Hock, who once served a two-year ban for cocaine use, says he has turned his life around and, even at 33, has not given up hope of winning back his international jersey.

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“If England rang me up, you can’t say no, can you?” Hock said.

“I had that little blip a few years ago but things have changed massively since then.

“I’m just going to keep taking it week by week and see how things go.”

Hock puts his rejuvenated form down to a settled home life and a happy environment at his latest club.

“I’m glad to be back in Super League,” he said. “Getting promoted was a massive achievement, probably one of the biggest I’ve made. I’ve played in a few finals but lost them.

“The Championship is a tough old league, it’s not the best, but I’ve been working hard and training hard and changed a lot of things in my life.

“I’m just really enjoying it, it’s a good club, I get on with everyone and I’m happy at home. You take all that onto the field.

“It’s a big year for me, I’m getting married.”

The Centurions have won half their six matches so far to climb out of the bottom four and victory over Wakefield at the Beaumont Legal Stadium tonight could lift them into the top four.

“I’m happy with that, especially with the teams we’ve played. We’ve played all the top teams,” Hock said.

“We had a little blip at the beginning but things have just progressed over the weeks and we’ve got better and better.

“We said we had to stay out of that bottom four but deep down we all knew we could get fifth. I don’t see why not. We’ve played the best now.

“It’s going to be tough at Wakefield. They play well at home. We’ve watched a video and it should be a good game.

“We’ve trained well this week and, if we stick to what we’ve done in training, we should come out with a victory.”

Meanwhile Hock says he is quickly settling into his new front-row prop with the Centurions.

“It’s weird,” he added. “I signed for Wigan as a scrum-half and I’ve ended up at prop.

“It’s a bit tougher but I’m enjoying that new role in the middle and leading from the front. You just have to get stuck in. You can do a bit of ball handling and it’s nice to get over the whitewash.”