Zak Hardaker discusses his selection ahead of Saturday’s Great Britain tour fixture vs a Tongan International XIII
“Hopefully I can give it my all tomorrow” Hardaker
Great Britain vs Tongan Invitational XIII, Hamilton, New Zealand, K.O. 8am (GMT)
Wigan’s Zak Hardaker says he will ‘give it his all’ when he takes to the field for Great Britain for the first time on Saturday against a Tongan Invitational XIII in Hamilton.
As a late addition to Wayne Bennett’s side for the tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, Hardaker explained that the call came as a welcome surprise.
“I thought my season was finished with Wigan. We had a decent year, didn’t finished where we wanted to but personally i have a good twelve months.
“I’m really excited. It’s been quite a tough week as some of the boys haven’t played in a few weeks.
“We’ve been getting tested in training, but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, it’ll be a really tough test.”
There will be plenty of familiar faces in the Tongan Invitational XIII for Super League and NRL fans, with plenty of big names set to line up for GB’s opponents on Saturday (full squad info HERE). With challenging weather conditions also emerging during the week, Hardaker pointed out that this could certainly play a part in the game.
“It’s pretty much exactly line home! It rains seemingly randomly and wind has been pretty strong. Hopefully the conditions will be better tomorrow.
“They [Tonga] are a really strong team and the conditions will certainly play a part.”
England faced Tonga in the last World Cup, a game which has been cemented in the memories of those involved due to the heightened atmosphere. The Wigan fullback said he expects a similar scenario this weekend.
“Everybody has been saying that atmosphere was one of the best they’ve ever been involved in. That’s a pretty big statement coming from lats who have played in Challenge Cup and Super League Grand Finals.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the flags flying and the cars beeping their horns. They [Tonga] are a really proud nation and it’ll be hostile but everyone is looking forward to it [the atmosphere].”
And despite the change of plans for Hardaker after being called into the squad little over a week ago, the fullback believes he is ready for the challenge of international rugby league once more.
I thought my season was finished with Wigan. We didn’t finish where we wanted to but I had a decent season personally. I was getting ready for a few weeks off before gearing up for pre-season, but a late call-up and starting in the centres.
“I’m really looking forward to not just representing my country, but Great Britain as a whole. It’s the pinnacle in Rugby League and hopefully I can give it my all tomorrow.”
Hardaker will line up in the centres alongside Warriors teammate Oliver Gildart on Saturday. On playing with Wigan’s number four: “We are two Wiganers, two centres who have been speaking a lot in training and trying to help each other out, tipping each other on stuff we need to work on and a little bit of extra work too.
“It’s also good that we are roommates and that we’ve played with each other for the past 12 months, it all helps.”
Catch more of Zak next season at the DW Stadium with a 2020 Season Ticket! The date for renewals closes on FRIDAY 1st NOVEMBER with Adults for as little as £221 and Juniors from £35. For more information, click HERE.
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