Hastings opens up on England snub

Jackson Hastings says he isn’t upset by having missed out on selection in Shaun Wane’s 35-man England squad, although he still hopes he can force his way into the 2021 World Cup reckoning.

In early April Wane named his national team squad, which including halves George Williams, Jonny Lomax and Luke Gale, but Hastings was left out along with the likes of playmakers Gareth Widdop, Jake Trueman and Jake Connor.

Hastings, the 2019 Man of Steel winner, was born and raised in Australia but is eligible to play for England through his grandmother.

The scrum-half played four Tests for Great Britain on the southern hemisphere tour at the end of 2019.

Hastings has been in fine form for undefeated Wigan this season with a try, three try assists, four tackle busts, 55 tackles and 231 metres from three games.

Last week the club revealed that he would return to Australia at the end of the season to play for the Wests Tigers in 2022.

But the 25-year-old says he is not worried about missing the cut for England at this stage.

“I don’t know too much about the squads as I haven’t been involved in them,” he said.

“But I think Shaun made a stance when he took over as England coach that he will always go with English-born players first and I fully respect that. And I respect him, not only as a coach but as a person for standing up for what he believes in.

“For me, on the flip side of that, he also said that if you qualify and you’re playing better than the individuals in that squad then you’re never out of the frame either. So for me it’s not about worrying if I’m in these squads, or what other people are saying. I’ve openly said I’d love to play in the World Cup and represent England.

“I got a taste on the Lions tour of what it means to be an English footballer and how proud I was to sing the anthem and play alongside some of the best players in this country.

For me I’m hoping that door is still open, but I have to play well for Wigan before anything else and that’s my main priority too. Hopefully Shaun’s having a look at the way I’m playing, the way I’m conducting myself and the way I am around my team-mates too.

“Hopefully I just keep doing all the right things and if that opportunity comes I’ll take it with both hands – if not, I definitely won’t kick stones and I’ll respect him for his opinion and his stance on it.”`

England will face a Combined Nations All Stars team in Warrington on Friday 25 June as a warm-up game to the World Cup.

Hastings is eligible to play for both teams, and the halfback admits the prospect of playing for Tim Sheens’ All Stars side would be exciting if he is not part of the England set-up.
“I haven’t even really thought about it,” he said.

“But I think the contest is a great idea. Making it a Combined Nations team instead of the Exiles gives it a better chance of being an even stronger team than it would have already have been.

“I’d never shut the door on anyone. I really do like the concept and hopefully I’ll be a part of it, for one side or the other, which would be cool.”

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