New Zealand-born Rangi Chase says finding out his surname is of English derivation has made representing the adopted nation ‘more special’, reports SkySports.
Chase - who was voted the 2011 Man of Steel - switched allegiances to England two years ago having represented both New Zealand Maoris and the Exiles against England beforehand.
The stand-off has been regular partner to Leeds Rhinos’ Kevin Sinfield at half-back over the past two seasons and will be looking to cement his place in Steve McNamara’s side ahead of England’s opening World Cup fixture.
Chase originally made himself available for selection after qualifying on residential grounds, though recently found he may have more in common with his adopted nation that first thought:
“Over the last couple of months I’ve done my family tree,” Chase is quoted as saying on SkySports.
“I’ve got my own personal reasons why I play for England. But the name Chase is from England. One of my aunties has given me my family tree and it actually comes from England.
“So, in a way, I’ve got that English blood in me. It might only be a little bit but it’s in there and it’s a big honour.”
Castleford half-back Chase - who has agreed to join Salford for the new season - says he was proud to wear the England colours beforehand, but the passion has increased having learnt of his heritage:
“Even before then, it was a big honour but it makes it a bit more special to know that I’m linked, I’m tied, I’ve got a bit of English blood in me. It means a lot to me. I’m passionate about where I come from and my ancestors.”
Chase is currently in South Africa with his England team-mates and will be looking to impress McNamara.
The former St. George Illawarra Dragons player has some stiff competition in the form of Melbourne Storm’s Gareth Widdop and Rhinos’ Rob Burrow, and he isn’t taking anything for granted:
“I’m not too sure if I’m going to be there to be honest,” he said. “That’s why I’m training hard and doing everything I can to put my foot in the door and get that spot.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and that’s the beauty about it.”
England’s first opponents in the World Cup will be favourites Australia at the Millenium Stadium on October 26.
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