St Helens’ Joe Batchelor on ‘unbelievable experience’ with England

ST HELENS forward Joe Batchelor said it was “an unbelievable experience” making his Test debut for England.

Batchelor capped a superb year, which included a first England call-up mid-season and a second Super League Grand Final victory on the bounce, by making his World Cup bow.

After missing out in the first two rounds of group games, the 28-year-old got the nod to face Greece at Bramall Lane and scored a try in a record England World Cup victory.

“It was an unbelievable experience playing for England,” said Batchelor, who was playing part-time in League One with York only four years ago. 

“It was a proud day for my family. In a World Cup, at home, it’s a massive day and something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. 

“I really enjoyed it and made sure I took everything in.

“There was excitement and nerves, you’re wanting to impress. But the stuff that’s going to impress is the stuff I’ve done all year, so I just needed to relax a bit.”

Batchelor was not subsequently selected in the England team for their quarter-final match against Papua New Guinea in Wigan on Saturday.

But he says he has been doing everything he can in training to impress coach Shaun Wane and learning as much as possible from being in camp with an elite international squad.

“I’ve been doing the best I can do, doing what I do and trying to show Shaun what I’m capable of,” said Batchelor. 

“But there’s 24 of us that are really good players. There are four backrowers fighting for it.

“There’s an intensity to it that is unrivalled at club level. But being with quality players, you’ve got a quality player inside you and a quality player outside you, and the opposition is a quality standard as well. 

“Everything has got to be right on, so you’ve got to be training at a high level.

“You’ve got to pick everyone’s brains and develop while you’re here. I’m trying to get a bit more information off everyone and trying to take it all in and process it.”