Wigan Warriors prop Ben Flower aiming for Great Britain slot
Warriors prop Ben Flower is already setting his sights on winning a place in the revived Great Britain squad.
The Lions will head Down Under next year after the RLIF brokered a deal for them to Tour in 2019 and 2024, after fears it would be canned when a recent counter-proposal from Australia threw the plans into doubt.
Welshman Flower will be seen by many as one of the leading candidates from nations other than England to earn a call-up, but he acknowledges he will have to impress to be part of the first GB lineup for more than a decade.
“I think I’m good enough to get in that squad and hopefully I’m playing well (by the time selections are made),” he said.
“That gives me my best chance really doesn’t it, there’s no other way to get in than play the best rugby you possibly can.”
Flower is also motivated by the fact this could be his only chance to play for Great Britain.
He has 16 Wales caps to his name and appeared in the 2013 World Cup, but by the time the 2024 Tour comes around, he will be 35 and acknowledges there will be new faces vying with him for a place in the team by then.
“It’s exciting and something that will be the last one for me. I won’t catch another one after that,” he admitted.
“If it goes every four years then the next one I won’t get it.
“You don’t know but this will be my best chance of getting one.”
But that’s not to say Great Britain won’t already be well stocked in the forwards.
Alex Walmsley, Mike Cooper and Chris Hill were recently named in the England performance squad, while Burgess brothers Sam, George and Tom can all ply their trade in the front row.
“There’s so many good props out there, the English lads throughout the NRL and the lads coming through Super League,” said Flower.
The Lions last played in 2007 in a series against New Zealand and were disbanded after the 3-0 whitewash, in which Warriors skipper Sean O’Loughlin played his part as captain of the side.
And as well as adding to Wigan’s long list of GB internationals, if Flower does manage to break into the squad he will join an exclusive club of Wales rugby league internationals including Billy Boston, Jonathan Davies, Clive Sullivan and Gus Risman to have pulled on a GB jersey.
He said: “It’s pretty exciting and hopefully I’m fit and playing well – it’s all I can do.”