Jackson Hastings hopes to crack into England's World Cup plans

Wigan half-back Jackson Hastings is hoping his winning performance against England will help revive his chances of playing for them in the World Cup, even though it was not his prime motivation.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 5:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th June 2021, 5:38 pm
Jackson Hastings
Jackson Hastings

Hastings, who has so far been ignored by new England coach Shaun Wane gave the former Wigan boss a reminder of his ability when he led the Combined Nations All Stars to a 26-24 victory in Warrington on Friday night, although that was not his priority.

"That wasn't on my mind," he said. "My mind was on winning. I'm a competitor and every time I take the field I want to win.

"As I've said the whole time, if I'm good enough, hopefully I'll get picked and, if Shaun goes another way, he goes another way, that's for him to decide.

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"I've got a lot of respect for the man and for what he's done in the game."

Hastings, who qualifies for England through his English grandmother and played for Great Britain under Wane's predecessor Wayne Bennett in 2019, linked up with Aidan Sezer to steer the All Stars to a notable victory.

They were up against an unlikely half-back pairing of Stefan Ratchford and Luke Gale in an England side that will be much changed for the World Cup, a decision about which will be made next week amid speculation that the tournament could yet be put back to 2022.

If it goes ahead in October, Wane is more likely to select Jonny Lomax and George Williams as his first-choice half-backs and he will also hope to have a host of injured players as well as the five-strong NRL contingent available.

Wane, who will check on the fitness of second rower John Bateman after he left the ground on crutches, says his team still ought to have won the match and Hastings appreciates England's difficulties.

"They didn't have their boys from the NRL which would have made them stronger but everyone that got a cap for England stood up," Hastings said. "Obviously they lost Batty and a few other boys early which didn't help."

Hastings' All Stars team-mate Jake Connor, the Hull full-back who is also hoping for an England call, will go for X-rays on Saturday amid fears that he may have sustained a broken jaw.

"I apologise to (Hull coach) Brett Hodgson if I send him back in pieces," said All Stars coach Tim Sheens.

"The doctor thought it was broken but he went back out for the second half. He wanted to finish the match but we took him off because we didn't want to do it any further damage.

"I hope it's nothing more than a small fracture - that will be a bit of a wait."

Meanwhile, Hastings said the motivation for his side's victory was former Hull KR and St Helens prop Mose Masoe, who is still battling to walk again after sustaining an horrific spinal injury 18 months ago.

The All Stars dedicated their jersey to the Mose Masoe Foundation and Hastings wore a wristband with Masoe's name on it.

"It was moving last night when I was fortunate enough to present Mose his shirt," Hastings said.

"It is probably one of the proudest things I've ever done in rugby league, to be made captain and then to present that great man his jersey,

"Who goes through what he has gone through and stands there and smiles? It's truly humbling.

"I made sure I had that on my wrist tonight because I wanted to do him and his family justice."