This article was first published in the January 30th edition of League Express. Get this week’s League Express for a full-page season preview on Wigan, and every other Super League club. League Express is in stores or online at totalrl.com/le
Thomas Leuluai has admitted that returning to Super League could have ruined his chances of playing in the World Cup later this year.
The New Zealand halfback, who has been capped 38 times by his country since his debut in 2003, has rejoined Wigan following a four-year stint with New Zealand Warriors.
He was part of the Kiwis’ first-choice halfback partnership in the Four Nations alongside Shaun Johnson, although he didn’t feature in the final after breaking his jaw in their draw with Scotland.
Despite spending eight years in Super League earlier in his career, Leuluai remained a part of the Kiwis setup, making 22 appearances.
However, having re-signed with Wigan for family reasons, Leuluai fears that it could affect his chances of going to the World Cup.
“It was probably the hardest part of making the decision to come back,” he said.
“Whether it’s right or not, I think they look at Super League as a lesser comp. That’s some people’s opinion and I guess it’s just up to the coach now and what he thinks. I think there’s a fair chance I’ll miss out.
“But I had to make the best decision for my family and our future. It was something I had to think really hard about, but I felt it was best for me being back in England with a new baby on the way.”
For now, Leuluai’s focus is on preparing for the new season, and he believes that his partnerships are improving at an acceptable rate.
“I know a lot of people talk about the combination between the two halves,” he said.
“But it’s more about the combinations with everyone else.
“I know a lot of the players are similar, but it’s more me getting used to that. George’s (Williams) partnership with me will come on when everyone else knows what they’re doing.”