BEN Harrison knows he will have to fight if he is to achieve his ‘dream’ England call-up for the 2013 World Cup.
Having experienced the joys of reaching the quarter finals of the 2008 World Cup with Ireland, for whom he qualifies through his mother’s side of the family, the 24-year-old forward has his heart set on replicating that experience in the red and white of England.
“A World Cup place for England is most definitely a focus for me this year,” he said, after watching his fellow countrymen lift the inaugural Autumn International Series trophy following their 48-4 defeat of France.
“My time with Ireland was brilliant and we achieved pretty good things as a team.
“We were the underdogs and got to the quarter final, though we probably threw that away against Fiji and should have done even better.
“But to be able to experience a World Cup in an England shirt, on home soil, would be a dream come true.”
However, Harrison’s exclusion from Steve McNamara’s Autumn International Series final squad demonstrates the mammoth task ahead of the Cumbrian as the countdown to next year’s World Cup steps up a gear.
The second row played only one game in the three match series against Wales and France – coming off the bench against France in the 44-6 victory at Craven Park – and with both NRL and Super League stars sitting out of the series due to injuries, Harrison is well aware his task will be even tougher come October.
But he hopes a full season without being troubled by the knee injuries that have plagued him for the last two years will go some way to helping him step up to the level required of him.
“I know I have a difficult task ahead of me,” he said.
“The competition is fierce now, and there are six or seven players missing at the moment through injury.
“Players like Ben Westwood, Sam Burgess and more will be available, so that shows how competitive this will be and how difficult earning that shirt will be.
“But I have struggled with serious injury occasionally over the last few years, so I am hoping that I have put those injuries behind me and will enjoy a full season of playing the best I possibly can for Warrington.
“With any luck, that will put me in good stead for an England place.”