AAP Rugby

Austin happy to play for England in Nines

By AAP Newswire

Blake Austin says he is grateful for the opportunity to end the year on a high after being called up by England for the inaugural World Cup Nines in Sydney.

The former Canberra five-eighth has enjoyed an impressive debut Super League season with Warrington but admits injuries towards the end took some of the gloss away from it.

The 28-year-old, who qualifies for England through his grandmother, was named in the Great Britain squad for the Lions tour Down Under and was then drafted in for the England Nines following the withdrawal of his Warrington team-mate Jack Hughes.

Austin, who missed the Challenge Cup final in August with an ankle sprain and picked up a knee injury in the last match against Castleford, says he is fit and ready to play for his adopted country as he prepared to fly out to Sydney on Saturday.

"To be here part of the England squad is very exciting," said Austin, who was born in Parramatta where the World Cup Nines will take place next Friday and Saturday.

"They are all a good bunch. There's a couple of Warrington boys who have been in the set-up for a long time which helps but they're all very welcoming.

"The way my year finished was very disappointing and I think getting selected for this has been a really nice way to finish.

"I had the rug ripped from underneath me with my ankle and the knee but that's behind me now and hopefully this is a really positive finish to my first year in the UK."

Austin says he will be proud to pull on the England shirt after pledging his allegiance earlier in the year.

"It's certainly the biggest achievement of my career so far," he said.

"I've had a desire to do this for quite a while and certainly while I live here in the country it makes a lot of sense. I put my hand up and to be then selected is huge."