England debut a tonic for Tigers star

Niall Evalds wants to use his England debut as a springboard for success with Castleford after the disappointment of missing out on this year’s play-offs.

The former Salford fullback ended his first season at the Tigers with a prized outing for Shaun Wane’s national team in the 30-10 win over France in Perpignan.

That followed a man-of-the-match second Challenge Cup final appearance by the 28-year-old as Castleford were beaten 26-12 by St Helens at Wembley in July.

Evalds, 28, was a member of the Salford side beaten 17-16 by Leeds in the 2020 final, having featured in the 2019 Grand Final when the Red Devils went down 23-6 to St Helens at Old Trafford.

He joined Castleford on a one-year deal and in August signed a two-year extension with the club, having the option of adding a further twelve months.

“I’ve been wanting to play for England for a long time now, it’s been a goal of mine,” said the Halifax-born player, who toured Papua New Guinea with England Knights in 2018 and played in the 38-6 win over Jamaica at Headingley the following year.

Evalds was pleased to have club-mate Paul McShane for company against France.

“He’s a great player, you don’t win Man of Steel (in 2020) for no reason,” he added.

“Macca is a real leader for Cas, and we’ve had a pretty good combination going this year which we are aiming to continue.”

Now Evalds, whose Super League debut came back in 2013, aims to use his big-game experience for the benefit of his club as they prepare for the 2022 campaign under new coach Lee Radford.

“I’m not a young kid any more, I’m pretty experienced and played in some big games, and you learn to handle big occasions,” he said.

“I love playing fullback, I’ve played there for a long time now. It suits my game attacking wise and defensively, I just want to do my job for the team.”

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