Hardaker ready to stake centre claim

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Zak Hardaker has been taking a refresher course in centre play as he prepares to fill the boots of Leeds team-mate Kallum Watkins for England against the Exiles at Warrington on Friday.

Hardaker broke into the Rhinos team at centre but was at full-back in the last Exiles clash at Huddersfield last July and has since worn the number one jersey with distinction for the Super League champions.

However, Sam Tomkins has reclaimed the full-back role for England and Hardaker will be switched by coach Steve McNamara to centre following the loss of Watkins with an ankle injury.

“I wasn’t really expecting to get picked so I’m pretty excited,” Hardaker said from the England camp at Loughborough University.

“It’s a new position for me again. I played a bit of centre for Leeds so it’s not totally new to me.

“I’ve played in a Grand Final at centre and I’ve been looking at a few videos and a few things I did last time.

“Kallum has been going really well and I’ll try to do him justice but they are pretty big boots to fill.

“I told Steve I will play anywhere for my country. It doesn’t really matter what position I play, I’ll still give it my all.”