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20th June 2018, 16:42 | steve_mascord

HOME & AWAY: Jake Connor

HOME & AWAY: Jake Connor

By Steve Mascord

If he had a choice, England debutant Jake Connor would go to Butlins in Skegness for a break rather than the likes of Sydney and Denver . But rugby league has already taking him to Australia and the United States this year alone - and he's not complaining.

Steve Mascord sits down with the man almost as well known what his mouth can do as the ability of his arms and legs on the rugby league field.

Rugby-league.com: Rugby league isn’t often thrown up as a sport that allows you to see the world but you’ve seen a fair bit of it this year.

Jake Connor: Yeah, I’m not really one for going away - especially with hot weather! I struggled in Australia. It’s 30 degrees in Denver as well so that will be a bit tough for me. But, you know, it’s great going places. I’ve never been to America and it’s going to be good. I’m looking forward to it.

RLC: When you say you’re not one for going away, what do you do for your holidays? You just stay home, do you?

JC: “Yeah! If I get time off, I’m just staying home and chilling out. I think I went to Skegness the other week, Butlins, so it’s not too far from me!”

RLC: What were your impressions of the game in Australia when you played there with Hull in February? Obviously rugby league is quite a big deal there…

JC: “It’s massive over there. It took me by surprise. Obviously it’s their national sport (ed: not quite). As an English team going down there, we didn’t think we’d have as much support as we did. Obviously we took a lot of supporters ourself but there were also a lot of Aussies down there who supported Hull and made us feel welcome. I’d happily do it again.”

RLC: But, as you said, you’d rather go to Butlin’s. What don’t you like about travel? Are there too many hassles, like changing money?

JC: “I don’t know, some people like going to see places. I’m not into that. I can see it on TV. Hot weather? If I had to go somewhere … 10 degrees, I’d go there. But, yeah, I’m not someone for really going anywhere.”

RLC: Everyone is fascinated with you winding up opposition players, your talking on the field. Is that a badge of honour for you? Are you happy to be known for that or would you rather not be?

JC: “I don’t know, I don’t really notice it. It’s an in-the-moment kind of thing. If someone’s giving to me on the field, I’m giving it to them back. That’s it, to me. People think of it what they think of it but I’m just messing about and having fun. At the end of the day, whatever happens on the field stays on the field. That’s it!”

RLC: Do you watch a lot of NRL yourself?

JC: “Sometimes, when it’s on. I had Mahe Fonua at Hull with me and we’re good pals. When he’s playing, I like to tune in and watch it and see how he goes. Obviously I know what some players are about and I know how competitive it is.”

RLC: Are you intrigued by Wayne Bennett, as most people are before they interact with him?

JC: “Definitely. Obviously I’ve heard off a couple of people what he’s like and how training is and how the camp is. I can’t want to get going.”

RLC: Have you always had there ambition of playing at this level? Or has it just happened? When I say this level, I don’t mean feet above sea level.

JC: “Definitely always wanted to play for my country but I didn’t think it would come this soon. It’s a bonus to me. The way I’ve been playing, I’ve got consistency in my game now and I’ve been rewarded for that so yeah - I’m buzzing to be here.”

RLC: Do you follow the NFL - you’re playing in an NFL Stadium.

JC: “I’ve tried watching it but the breaks kill me! I’m not patient enough. I might flick over and flick back. But - there’s some athletes in that NFL. They’re quick and so skilful but I haven’t really paid attention to it.”

Watch England take on New Zealand in Denver live on BBC Two, Sat 23 June at 9pm