Leuluai hoping he can call on some English support!

Thomas Leuluai is hoping there won't be any divided loyalties at home when he takes on England this weekend!

Thursday, 27th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 4:45 pm
Tommy Leuluai

The Kiwi international – returning to Wigan next season – has an English wife, Natalie.

He has yet to ask who she will be supporting in Saturday’s Four Nations opener but said: “I’d like to think she’d be supporting us.

“I’m not too sure, we don’t really talk about it. But we both enjoyed our time in New Zealand so I’d like to think she’s a Kiwi, now.”

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Their daughter Wynter-Rose was born in New Zealand last Christmas Day, and was a big factor in their decision to return to England.

Leuluai, who left in 2012, has a contract which will see him move onto the coaching staff once he hangs up his boots.

And he will be aiming to put the shackles on his future halfback partner George Williams in Saturday’s game at a sold-out John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield. “He was on the scene when I was there,” said the 31-year-old.

“I’ve not had the chance to play with George yet, but I’ve watched him a few times and he’s been playing really well.

“He’s got great instincts and if he’s playing, he’s one we have to watch out for.”

Coach Wayne Bennett will name a 19-man squad today with Williams expected to come back into the frame, after five Grand Finalists were rested for the 40-6 victory in France last Saturday.

Leuluai, equally comfortable at halfback or hooker, admits this competition is shaping as his last in the Test arena.

“I’m excited to be back playing over here again,” said Leuluai, who was injured for last year’s Test series.

“We’re No.1 in the world and we’ve had success over there, but we’ve not reproduced that form in England for a while, and it’s something we’re angry about.

“When you’re 31, any game could be your last. With my age, and the young players coming through, I’m not naive to that. I’m just looking forward to making the most of this chance.

“England were dangerous beforehand and with Wayne’s calibre as a coach, he’s going to improve them. They’re a really strong team.”

Leuluai has yet to speak to Shaun Wane in depth about his role next season, though he admits he doesn’t fancy putting his name forward as a candidate for the goal-kicking job in 2017.

“I won’t be kicking goals – that wasn’t in the contract,” he smiled.