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ENGLAND regular Chris Hill welcomed the decision to take a Test match to Colorado today and dismissed any fears associated with playing at high altitude.
Some NRL clubs have raised concerns over the distance involved for a mid-season international between England and New Zealand and have sought assurances about staging the game at the Mile High Stadium in Denver.
The match on June 23 is seen as an important stepping stone towards the 2025 World Cup which will be held in North America and Hill is full of praise for the organisers’ initiative.
The Warrington prop also insists, from his experience of attending a high-altitude training camp in South Africa in the build-up to the 2013 World Cup, that there is nothing to fear from the conditions the players can expect in Denver.
“It’s brilliant taking it somewhere new and letting the people of the United States see what it’s all about,” Hill said.
“They are big on sport in general, aren’t they? And the stadium in Denver looks pretty awesome.
“We’ve trained at high altitude a few times. The first couple of days you can feel the difference and then you start getting used to it. It’s the same for both teams, isn’t it? We’ll be sweet.
“I’m looking forward to it if selected. It should be a good Test there.
“The mid-season games are a great thing for international rugby league. It sets it up for the end of the year.”
Hill also welcomed the reappointment of veteran Australian Wayne Bennett as head coach and the plan to continue with regular get-togethers during the domestic season.
“He’s a top bloke and a great coach,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward to working with him again.
“Meeting up every four or six weeks just for a feed and a coffee together does make that difference. You do get your connections with each other. It showed in the World Cup how tight we were as a group. “
Hill is expected to be included in Bennett’s updated elite performance squad of Super League-based players when it is unveiled tomorrow and is tipping his Warrington teammate Daryl Clark for a recall after making an impressive start to the season.
The 2014 Man of Steel played for England in the 2014 and 2016 Four Nations Series but lost out to rival hookers James Roby [St Helens] and Josh Hodgson [Canberra] for the 2017 World Cup.
“I should imagine Clarky will be straight back in it,” said the Wolves skipper. “Jack Hughes has performed well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets in.
“The amount of English talent at the minute is fantastic.”
The Rugby Football League will also announce the England Knights squad, which is being brought out of mothballs in 2018 under former Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson.
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