Ellis fully focused on French finale

PA Sport
Gareth Ellis, centre, hopes to keep his spot in the England team
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Gareth Ellis, centre, hopes to keep his spot in the England team

Gareth Ellis is relieved to get the all-clear to play in Sunday's final of the autumn international series and is now hoping to get the nod from England coach Steve McNamara to keep his spot.

The former Leeds and Wests Tigers second rower was forced to sweat for 48 hours after being put on report for a high tackle on full-back Cyril Stacul during last Saturday's 44-6 win over France at Craven Park. But he was told that he would not be facing any further action and he is desperate to win his 21st England cap against the French.

"I've not played that many games this year," said Ellis, who was also in the side that beat Wales in England's opening international. "I'll take any opportunity to play for England, it's the biggest honour you can get. I've really enjoyed the series so far."

He added: "I hadn't played for six or seven weeks with Wests not making the play-offs and I've actually not played many games because of the foot injury that I had.

"It's been great to be back representing England and playing alongside some of the boys I've not seen for a while."

Ellis, who will take up a three-year contract with Hull next month, has been especially delighted to catch up with centre Kallum Watkins, who was coming through the juniors at Headingley during his last season with Leeds four years ago.

Ellis, 31, has been playing on the same side of the field as the 21-year-old Watkins and put him over for two of his three tries in the win at Hull.

"It's great to be playing with Kallum," he said. "I was at Leeds when he was just coming through. I trained with him for a season in 2008 but never had a chance to play with him. I could see he was a talented player even then.

"I heard great things about him since and he's certainly developed as a player. He's such a nice kid as well.

"He's a big threat playing against anyone. Sometimes it's just a case of catching the ball, giving it to him and see what he can do and he can certainly do the stuff."

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