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Radley turns back on Blues, Kangaroos to play for England at World Cup

Sydney Roosters forward Victor Radley has put his hand up to play for England in the end-of-season World Cup.

Players cannot switch between tier-one nations so if he does end up playing for them at the World Cup he will be ineligible to represent NSW and Australia in the future.

Radley was selected in the NSW squad for Origin II in Perth as an extended squad member but is yet to make his debut for the Blues.

The 24-year-old lock, a former Junior Kangaroo, qualifies through his father Nigel, who is from Sheffield, and has told England coach Shaun Wane of his desire to play for him.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Sydney-born Radley said. “I’ve always wanted to play for England for my old man. Everybody wants to do the right thing by their dad, don’t they?

“Dad’s proud of where he’s from, proud of his family, proud of supporting (soccer team) Sheffield Wednesday.

Victor Radley of the Roosters passes

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“This was a gut feeling that it’s what I want to do – and with the World Cup coming up in England at the end of this year, it was now or never.

“If I ended up sitting there watching the World Cup and knowing I could have been playing for England – that wouldn’t have felt good.”

Radley was a member of the Sydney Roosters pack who won consecutive NRL Grand Finals in 2018 and 2019 and followed each one with victory in the World Club Challenge in England early the next season – at Wigan in 2019 and St Helens in 2020.

Wane, who met up with his NRL-based players during a trip to Australia earlier this year, said: “I’ve always said that I’m open to selecting players who want to represent their English heritage – but they have to be outstanding in their position, and 100 per cent committed.

“I rate Victor Radley very highly as a player and he’s a great addition to the options we have in a position where we have some really strong contenders. 

“We need quality in depth in every position and Victor is a big addition to that.

“He now joins the group we already have playing in the NRL who will be part of our preparations for the World Cup.

“We’re in regular touch, sharing a lot of information with them, to make sure they’re all ready to be part of our squad if they’re selected.”

Radley played for New South Wales Under-20s in 2017 and was set to make his Origin debut this year until being ruled out of game one with an ankle injury. 

Suspension and injury also denied him opportunities with the Blues in 2020 and 2021.

Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane will be the venue for the last of England’s three group games against Greece on October 29.

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