Ellis relishing home World Cup
The 32-year-old back rower spent four very successful seasons in the NRL with Wests Tigers before returning to Super League this season with Hull FC. He reckons attending the ETS camps is one of the bonuses of being back.
“The ETS camps were brought in after I went over to Australia, and it was disappointing not to be involved,” he said. “You were always looking on from afar. Steve kept us informed as to what was going on but it’s not the same.
“We’d only sort of catch up at the end of each year so it’s nice being part of it and in amongst the lads in what is going to be a very important year.”
Despite his successes both here and in Australia, Gareth believes that playing for England is still something special. “Without a doubt, the biggest honour of your career is pulling on that England jersey,” he said. “You never take your position for granted.”
Having lived in Australia he is fully aware of how important sporting success is to the nation and recognises that they’ll be hurting after losing to the Lions in rugby union and failing to recapture the Ashes in cricket.
“They’ve been on the end of a few losses so they’ll definitely want to get one over on us. Australia are a great side and a great Rugby League nation. It’s great for the game that it’s so big over there but it would be nice to make it a hat trick in the World Cup.”
“Beating them could certainly put Rugby League on the map in this country. The game’s crying out for England to be successful. We haven’t had too many days when we’ve been able to say that. That’s the disappointing thing.
“If we were to lift that World Cup on such a big stage in a big tournament, it would give us some great headlines and great publicity for the sport and hopefully just spread the word a little bit and get the sport the recognition it deserves.”
Gareth is in no doubt about the impact a successful World Cup campaign on home soil could have.
“It’s great that the Rugby League public in this country are going to get to see such a great spectacle. They’re going to see some of the best players in the world all coming together in one tournament, which doesn’t happen very often. Hopefully we can attract a few new faces to the game and expand and grow the game because on a bigger scale that’s what the World Cup is all about.”
Although now back in Yorkshire, Gareth still keeps on eye on the Australian scene and in particular the English players out there. “The four Burgess brothers turning out for Souths last weekend was incredible," he said. “You’ve got four English players at a club who are one of the favourites for the competition. It’s fantastic for the game.
“It’s a tough competition out there. As much as it would be nice to see them playing in Super League, on an England level and the fact that they’re playing against Australians and New Zealanders week in week out is great.”
And if any of his old team mates from Wests get picked for the World Cup he reckons there will be a few text messages flying around. “It’s not normally too bad. Everyone takes it seriously as it’s a serious competition but there’s normally a little bit on the field as well when you’re playing.”
Tickets for all games at Rugby League World Cup 2013 including England’s opening game against Australia as part of the Opening Ceremony at the Millennium Stadium are on sale now. Book today to make sure you do not miss out by visiting www.rlwc2013.com or calling 0844 847 2013.