Rugby League: Can Ryan Hall Work his Way back into Shaun Wane’s Plans?

Ryan Hall may be England’s greatest-ever try scorer, however, the former Leeds winger has been surprisingly overlooked by Shaun Wane, and won’t feature in the upcoming Ashes series this summer.

Although his omission does not necessarily mark the end of the 32-year old’s International career, the Rothwell-born player appears unlikely to work his way back into the coach’s plans anytime soon.

Hall is currently plying his trade in the NRL for the Sydney Roosters, and although the prospective Ashes squad does contain predominantly UK-based players, Wane has added a number of Hall’s peers to his ‘watch list’. The Canberra Raiders have a number of English-born players in their squad with the likes of John Bateman, Josh Hodgson and the uncapped Ryan Sutton amongst those who are being considered for a future call-up. Although the NRL has only just got underway, the Raiders are amongst the favourites in the rugby league odds and can be backed at 11/2 for success in 2020. Their British contingent is likely to play a significant role in helping them improve upon last year’s fourth-place finish.

The winger has struggled with injuries over the last 18 months and has been unable to recapture his form since dislocating his knee. His latest setback is highly likely to have played a major role in Wane’s decision to overlook the six-time Super League Grand Final winner. With a number of younger, fitter and more in-form players currently available for selection, the England coach’s decision is understandable, however, it’s a significant blow for a player who will be desperate to end his career on a high. He’s made just six appearances for the Roosters since making the move down under, and he will be desperate to get his career back on track in 2020.

Hall made his England debut back in 2010, representing his country in the Four Nations and helping them to a memorable 60-6 victory over France. He went on to score two tries against Australia the following year before finishing as the top tryscorer at the same tournament three years later. He extended his scoring streak against Samoa in 2017 and was subsequently selected as part of the World Cup squad. If he can get a run of games under his belt for the Roosters, the winger will surely be able to put himself back in the frame for future selection. Hall wasn’t the only glaring omision from the latest squad, with Warrington’s Gareth Siddop also missing out, whilst the soon-to-be-retired Sean O’Loughlin is unlikely to be handed the opportunity to secure one final cap before hanging up his boots.

Although his International career is currently on hold, Hall refused to be downbeat about the situation and simply spoke of his desire to return to the Roosters’ matchday squad. The down-to-earth winger told reporters that he’ll ‘cross that bridge when it comes’, and isn’t currently worrying about his England future.

Many Rugby League fans will have extremely fond memories of Hall’s try-scoring heroics, and they’ll be keen to see him return to action as soon as possible. However, the former Leeds Rhinos man is struggling to maintain fitness, and his appearance at the 2017 World Cup may have been his final outing in an England shirt.