Sinny's supporting JP

Rhinos captain happy with role reversal

Last Updated: 21/10/08 3:35pm

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Sinfield: Hoping for a starting spot

Sinfield: Hoping for a starting spot

Sky Bet

Kevin Sinfield has backed England captain Jamie Peacock ahead of their first World Cup match on Saturday, the Leeds skipper saying his Rhinos team-mate will do a "great job" in Australia.

Peacock has played under Sinfield for the past two seasons at Headingley Carnegie, a period which has corresponded with Leeds' historic back-to-back Super League successes.

But the club captain says he has no problem playing second fiddle to Peacock as they reverse roles on the international stage.

"JP really helped me at Leeds and I'd like to repay the favour," Sinfield said. "If I can help him half as much as he's helped me, then I'll be doing my best to do that.

"I'm certainly right behind him. Whatever role he wants me to play, I'll do it for him.

"There are a lot of club captains here and I'm sure we have all got one common goal and that is to get behind JP and make sure he's not on his own.

"His form has been outstanding over the last couple of years. He leads from the front and lets his play on the field do the talking for him.

"But, when he does speak, everyone stands up and listens. He's very commanding and he'll do a great job again this time I'm sure."

Favourite

After another fine season with the Rhinos, Sinfield is favourite to start at loose-forward in England's opening game against Papua New Guinea in Townsville.

Despite making his Test debut for Great Britain in 2001, Sinfield has struggled to make the position his own against the likes of Andy Farrell and Paul Sculthorpe.

And, although injury has ruled out his main rival, Sean O'Loughlin, Sinfield is still facing plenty of stiff competition for the number 13 jersey, with no fewer than seven other back rowers in England's 24-man squad.

"The one thing about English rugby league is that they are strong in the back row," he continued.

"It's always been that way since I started. There are some great players around and it's a big challenge for everybody. If you're not playing well enough, you won't get a shot.

"I've been pleased with my form in the last couple of games. I've just got to make sure I train hard.

"I just want to do the best I can. Hopefully that will mean a spot in the 17 and hopefully a starting spot.

"We'll have to see how things unfold. It's certainly going to be a squad effort and it's important that, whatever happens, people stay strong for each other."

Sterner tests

England are expected to win their opening match this weekend. However, they will soon face far sterner tests in the shape of Australia and New Zealand.

There has not been a home success in the competition since Great Britain's 1972 triumph, but Sinfield believes England's current crop are looking good.

"I think we've got a great chance," he added. "I think we're quietly confident. If you look at our squad, it's young, fit and fast and very skilful.

"Australia are obviously favourites on home soil but we're really looking forward to it and we're excited by the challenges that lie ahead."

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