Kevin Sinfield is delighted to get the chance to continue his new half-back partnership with Rangi Chase as England prepare to open their Gillette Four Nations campaign.
The Leeds skipper went up against the Castleford stand-off when he played for England against the Exiles in mid-season but Chase’s shock switch of allegiance brought the pair together in Avignon last Friday.
The unlikely new pairing showed distinct signs of promise in England’s 32-18 win over France and Sinfield has welcomed coach Steve McNamara’s decision to stick with them for tomorrow’s clash with Wales at Leigh Sports Village.
“I enjoyed it,” Sinfield said. “To get a chance to go on the field and put it together was great.
“There’s loads for us to work on together, which we’ve been able to do this week but I think we complement each other pretty well.
“Rangi can do things that not many in the game can do individually and for me to be able to control the team and let him be a free spirit will work pretty well.
“Then if you get Sam (Tomkins) with the ball in his hands, doing the stuff he does, we can combine really well together.”
Sinfield has revealed his Man of Steel vote went to St Helens hooker James Roby rather than Chase, who topped the poll, but has been impressed with his attitude in camp and has no problems with his switch of allegiance.
Having started matches for his country at hooker and loose forward, Sinfield now looks to have made the number six jersey his own and is in some elite company in the Four Nations, with Darren Lockyer (Australia) and Benji Marshall (New Zealand) among the all-time great stand-offs.
Saturday’s game will be Sinfield’s 38th of 2011 - no player had made more appearances - but he dismisses any talk of burn-out and argues that the Rhinos’ storming finish to the season, culminating in their Grand Final triumph, has had a rejuvenating effect.