Hock ready to say adieu with victory over France before joining exodus Down Under

 

As far as world-class forwards are concerned, England might not be sure whether they are coming or going at Hull KR this afternoon.

Gareth Ellis’s appearance in the city where he plans to spend the rest of his career is balanced by the likelihood that the match against France will be one of Gareth Hock’s last as a British-based player.

Although Hock and his club, Wigan, have declined to comment this week, the Australian team Parramatta have revealed that talks to take him to the NRL are well advanced.

That would be the latest twist in a turbulent career. Hock returned last season after a two-year ban for cocaine use, but has been in repeated trouble on the pitch – which might make a fresh start attractive.

Wigan would be loath to lose a player of his undoubted quality, but they could expect a sizeable fee and have plenty of alternatives in the back row of the pack.

If Hock does go, he will be following an increasingly well-trod path for the cream of British players. Only yesterday, the North Queensland Cowboys announced the signing of the former St Helens and Huddersfield hooker Scott Moore, on a two-year contract.

Although the England coach, Steve McNamara, has a 24-man squad to select from, he is resisting the temptation to make many changes.

Warrington’s Ben Harrison is brought in for the hamstring injury victim Sean O’Loughlin, and both Sam Tomkins and Tom Briscoe are expected to start. Tomkins has scored 12 tries in his short England career and needs one more to equal Alf Ellaby’s 77-year-old record.

The French have little excuse for any lack of cohesion, as the bulk of their squad come from the country’s Super League representatives, Catalan Dragons. They include Remy Casty, voted the best prop in the competition last season, but not his partner in the front row David Ferriol or the injured Jamal Fakir. Captain Olivier Elima, who is on his way from Bradford to play for the Dragons next season, promised: “We’re not coming here to get beat. We’re coming to compete and win.”

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power