Peacock backs rival Walmsley for England shirt in 2015

Leeds Rhinos prop Jamie Peacock has paid tribute to opposite number Alex Walmsley – saying he’s hoping to see him play for England this year.

The Saints forward has been in outstanding form this season, and is one of three contenders for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award, which will be handed out on Monday in Manchester.

And, speaking ahead of the semi-final meeting between Leeds and St Helens, Peacock said he’s been so good, that with George Burgess gone due to injury, the former Batley man is a good shout for England honours.

“Walmsley has been fantastic,” Peacock told the St Helens Reporter. “He started the season well and has improved as it’s gone on.

“He is incredibly difficult to tackle and he’s relentless. He doesn’t take a backward step and they’re the qualities you need as a front rower.

“I’m looking forward to going up against him on Friday and I’m also looking forward to seeing him hopefully in an England shirt against the Kiwis.

“I think this could be an opportunity for him, especially with the loss of George Burgess.”