Leeds Rhinos and England centre Kallum Watkins admits it has been strange trying to step up to international level having spent the last couple of months playing in the Qualifiers.
Watkins featured prominently for Leeds this year, playing in every one of the Rhinos’ games as they failed to make the top eight, before breezing through the Qualifiers in the Super 8s.
And he concedes that it has been a peculiar year – and he’s yet to fulfil his potential at international level.
“It’s been a pretty strange year at club level, hasn’t it,” he says.
“So stepping up to internationals was pretty strange in terms of quickness and intensity. That’s up a lot more than in the past couple of months.
“But I felt comfortable going into it – the experience of doing it in previous years has been a big help. Obviously, it’s not been the best of seasons, individually or at club level, so it was an interesting challenge going into the New Zealand game but I felt pretty good.”
Watkins did agree with a question posed to him that he is yet to live up to the billing in an England shirt, too.
“I certainly agree with that,” Watkins said. “The big thing for me is try to perform at the best in the international scene, that’s something I desire.”
“I had a couple of chances at the weekend and just didn’t take them,” he said. “When you get limited opportunities, you need to take them.
“For me it’s backing myself and getting myself more involved. It’s important for me to gain that confidence and to do the things that I’m good at. I’m going to continue to do that and improve, do the extras in training I need to do to get that extra preparation, but in the games I’ve got to do it.”