Ellis relieved to be back

Leeds star faced anxious wait

Last Updated: 25/06/08 9:29am

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Ellis: Pleased at selection

Ellis: Pleased at selection

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Gareth Ellis has admitted it was "a relief" to make England squad to face France after a nervous wait to find out if he had been included.

"It was a relief to get the phone call and I'm really looking forward to it. After being part of Great Britain's success last year, I'm ready for a little bit more now."
Gareth Ellis Quotes of the week

The Leeds second row was sidelined for a month earlier in the season after breaking his thumb - and as a result, Ellis began fretting over his place in the national side.

However, having returned to action in fine form, the 27-year-old was named in Tony Smith's 19-man squad for the World Cup warm-up game in Toulouse on Friday night.

"I was still nervous waiting for the phone call," he said.

"There are doubts about whether you've been playing well enough or whether someone has been playing a little bit better.

"It was a relief to get the phone call and I'm really looking forward to it. After being part of Great Britain's success last year, I'm ready for a little bit more now.

Focus

"Four or five weeks ago I was out with a broken thumb and I spoke to Tony who reminded me that I needed to come back and get a bit of form, and that's what I've been trying to do. This game has been part of my focus."

The inclusion of Catalans Dragons in the Super League has helped see the French national team come on leaps and bounds.

And Ellis is expecting a bruising encounter in Toulouse.

He said: "I played against France last year and it was tough. I think the fact that Tony has gone with a full-strength squad shows he recognises it's going to be tough again.

"You only have to look at how well the Catalans are playing this year. They have a lot of French players in their squad and they will be very much part of the French side.

"It's a massive challenge. They have a big forward pack and they're going to challenge us up the middle. The selection of a full-strength England squad reflects that.

"We will have to show them a lot of respect. I suppose we have a little bit more to contend with, with the travel, but that's something we've got to get used to for the World Cup."

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