Rugby League - Hardaker wants full-back berth

Despite showing his international pedigree as a centre in the international origin game, Zak Hardaker has his eyes on the England full-back spot ahead of the World Cup.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Hardaker wants full-back berth

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Zak Hardaker is targeting the full back position for England

The former Featherstone player produced an accomplished display filling in at centre for injured Rhinos team-mate Kallum Watkins in England's 30-10 win over the Exiles at Warrington on Friday night. But he will revert to full-back for his club in the re-arranged Super League game with Widnes and that is where he now sees his future at both club and international level.

"I'll fight for full-back," Hardaker said. "If I get picked in the squad, then I'm a squad player so, if the centre or wing spot needs to be filled because of injuries, then I'm happy to do that. But full-back is the position I'm playing at the moment and I'll hopefully do that."

Hardaker opened the scoring with the first of England's five tries as Steve McNamara's men played some sparkling rugby to open up a 24-0 interval lead against the Exiles.

But the loss of captain Kevin Sinfield with a thumb injury disrupted the team and England were forced to withstand an Exiles fightback before Leroy Cudjoe scored his second try of the match to ensure they finished the game on top.

"Kev's our leader and he puts us around the park so it was a bit of a blow but we've got players to replace him and we did alright in the end," Hardaker said.

It was England's last competitive outing before the World Cup opener with Australia in Cardiff on October 26, although they are lining up a warm-up game a week earlier, and Hardaker insisted there were plenty of positives from the hit-out.

"Our first half was really good," he added. "We went into the second half wanting to nil them but a few lapses in defence cost us a few tries. But a win's a win and to put so many points on the board is very pleasing. It's been a brilliant week, a stepping stone towards the World Cup at the end of the year."

Hardaker was back in training with his club on Sunday as he turned his thoughts back to the champions' Super League title defence.

"It's going to be a short turn-around but we'll have to switch our heads on for Widnes," he said. "Some of the boys have had a rest and some have been on holiday but we're ready to back up."

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