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RUGBY LEAGUE: Hadden ready to take on world after Irish call
9:00am Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
MATTY Hadden is focused on making the most of a surprise inclusion in Ireland’s squad for the Rugby League World Cup.
The prop was in sensational form in Oxford RL’s maiden season, making 17 appearances to help the side finish sixth in Kingstone Press Championship One.
Now he is preparing for Ireland’s opening game against Fiji on Monday after benefitting from the withdrawal of Warrington’s Simon Grix.
After joining up with the rest of the players at their pre-tournament training camp in Preston, Hadden admitted the news was a shock.
He said: “I’m delighted to be included in the squad as I wasn’t expecting the call.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and will give me some good experience considering I am still fairly new to the game.
“I’m looking forward to learning from the established players in the squad and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
As well as the opener at Rochdale, the 23-year-old also has a chance of playing in glamour group games against England, at Huddersfield on November 2, and nine-times champions Australia in Limerick a week later.
Mark Aston, Ireland’s head coach, has been impressed with the former Antrim Eels player since his move to Oxford.
“He’s a top young man who has certainly progressed over the last 12 months,” he said.
“He works hard and is an uncompromising sort of prop forward and I’m sure for his personal development this will be massive for him.”
The Belfast-born player has already represented the country’s student and A-sides.
He also played with the senior squad against England Knights and Scotland in last year’s European Cup.
Oxford RL have already agreed a new contract with Hadden, which will keep him at Iffley Road for the 2014 season.
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