sport

Sinfield has support from Morley

Kevin Sinfield is the "perfect" choice to lead England into the 2013 World Cup, according to the man he pipped for the post.

Sinfield, 32, underlined his status as the best captain in Leeds' history as his side claimed a sixth Grand Final triumph at Old Trafford last Saturday and has now been appointed as England skipper, succeeding Rhinos team-mate Jamie Peacock, who retired from the international game this summer.

Sinfield got the nod from England head coach Steve McNamara ahead of Warrington skipper Adrian Morley, who was the vice-captain under Peacock and led the team in his absence.

Morley, who was on the losing side when Leeds triumphed 26-18 at Old Trafford, believes McNamara made the right choice and is hoping to get the chance to play under Sinfield in the autumn internationals against France and Wales.

"I'm made up for Sinny," Morley told the Super League website. "He is a great leader and is the perfect successor to Jamie.

"He is an exceptional professional and does everything to his maximum.

"This is the start of an exciting new chapter for English rugby league and he will give the team great leadership both on and off the field."

Sinfield's appointment was announced to the England squad during their first night on South African soil as they began a 10-day high-altitude training camp in Potchefstroom.

"I am immensely honoured," Sinfield said. "Representing your country is always special but to captain England will be the proudest moment of my career to date.

"There could have been a number of candidates for the job, when you look at the number of leaders we have in the squad, but Steve McNamara has asked me take up the role and I will do it to the best of my ability."

Sinfield, who made his England debut in the 2000 World Cup, will lead his country for the first time against Wales in Wrexham on October 27.

A clash with France follows a week later at Hull KR's Craven Park ground, before the series final in Salford on November 11.

McNamara said: "Kevin is an outstanding leader and was my number one choice when selecting a successor to Jamie Peacock. The standards he sets both on and off the field are exemplary.

"He commands the ultimate respect from his fellow professionals and will take this group of players forward in what promises to be a demanding yet rewarding year for England Rugby League."

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Morley says he will cherish every second he gets in an England jersey after fearing his days were numbered when he missed out against the Exiles last summer.

He was dropped by McNamara after a stop-start first half of the season with Warrington but forced his way back into contention after successfully undergoing surgery to combat a career-threatening eye injury and is now hopeful of playing in the 2013 World Cup.

"After missing out against the Exiles, I was determined to get back in the squad," said Morley, who became England's most capped player when he made his 50th international appearance against Australia in the Four Nations final last November.

"I feared it was over and I didn't want my international career to end this way.

"Now I feel I can continue playing for my country right through the next few weeks against Wales and France and see what happens after that.

"We have a lot of competition for places in the front row. There are some great forwards coming through with Chris Hill, Lee Mossop and Luke Burgess all ready to play their part.

"To be training alongside these lads has sort of given me a new lease of life, which I love.

"I still have the desire to be part of the England programme and give it all I can to play in the World Cup next year.

"The squad that is being assembled is the best we have had for a long time and the work we are doing behind the scenes, such as the high-altitude training in South Africa, is diverse and professional.

"It is just what is required if we are going to attack the World Cup on home soil. It is an exciting time to be part of the national set-up and I can't wait to play my part."