Radley set to play for England at World Cup

Sydney Roosters star Victor Radley is prepared to turn his back on Australia and a future State of Origin jersey to represent arch rivals England at the end of season World Cup.

Radley met with England coach Shaun Wane during his recent trip to Australia and RFL officials confirmed that the Roosters forward had now declared his eligibility and determination to press for inclusion in World Cup squad.

If selected for England Radley would not longer qualify to represent for Australia as players cannot switch between tier one nations - and he would therefore also be ineligible to play Origin for NSW. 

Radley qualifies for England through his father, Nigel, who is from Sheffield – the venue for the last of England’s three group games in the competition, against Greece on October 29.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he 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 Sheffield Wednesday.

“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.”

England coach Shaun Wane spent some time in Australia earlier this year, and monitors performances in the NRL as closely as those in the Betfred Super League.

“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% committed,” said the England coach.

“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 was a member of the Roosters team which won consecutive NRL Grand Finals in 2018 and 2019, and the 2019 and 2020 World Club Challenge against Wigan and St Helens.

He played for the Junior Kangaroos against France in 2019 and was a member of the extended NSW squad for Origin II in Perth, but did not play.


Story first published on NRL.com

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Brad Walter, NRL Senior Reporter