Hastings puts his hand up for England

Jackson Hastings refused to be drawn into the debate over whether he should be added to Shaun Wane’s England squad as he started preparations for another Wigan-Hull showdown.

The Australian halfback produced a man-of-the-match performance and a try as the Warriors edged a 16-14 win over the Black and Whites in their Super League clash at the DW Stadium on Thursday.

The pair meet again in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup at Emerald Headingley on Saturday, when Wigan will attempt to make it seven wins from seven this season while Hull try to bounce back from their first defeat.

Hastings, a beaten Grand Finalist with Salford in 2019 and Wigan last year, is desperate to contribute to a title triumph before he returns to Australia to take up a two-year contract with Wests Tigers, who are also reported to be interested in his Warriors team-mate and England centre Oliver Gildart.

The former Sydney Roosters and Manly man also wants to regain his international place, having represented Great Britain, for whom he qualifies through having an English grandmother, four times in 2019, when Wayne Bennett was in charge.

Hastings knows the two can go hand in hand, with a continuation of his bright form at club level persuading Wane, who has previously pointed to a preference for selecting players born in England, to include him in his World Cup plans.

“I would love to be involved (in the World Cup), I’ll openly admit that,” said the Wollongong-born 25-year-old.

“But it’s up to Shaun. I respect what he’s said regarding English-born players taking priority, and I’ve nothing but respect for him and his approach.

“My hand is certainly up, and I will focus on playing as well as I can for Wigan and playing myself into the World Cup on good form.

“I would love to represent England, but I will try to win some trophies here at Wigan before I do anything else.”

Hastings was equally coy on whether his team-mate Zak Hardaker or Hull’s Jake Connor, whose head-to-head provided an intriguing sub-plot to Thursday’s match, should play fullback for England.

“The match-up between Zak and Jake lived up to the hype, they both went at each other and had their moments,” he said.

“They are different players. Jake is a very skilful individual, who can do things not many can. Zak is an ultimate competitor who will do anything for his team.

“I’m just glad I’m not picking that England team. There are so many good fullbacks in this country. It makes for a good squad, I guess.”

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