20 hours ago - 5 Likes
Morley to captain Great Britain on 22 June
Warrington forward Adrian Morley will captain Great Britain for the first time in their Test against France.
GB coach Tony Smith has decided to rest Jamie Peacock, skipper last season, for the one-off encounter at Headingley Carnegie on Friday, June 22.
"Leading the team out will be the highlight of my career so far," said Morley, a Grand Final winner in both England and Australia.
Morley, 30, made his GB debut in 1996 and has 26 caps.
"The game will be extra special for a number of reasons," he added.
"It will be the first time I've represented Great Britain against France, the first time I've played a Test match at Headingley Carnegie, and of course the first time I've captained the side."
The match will be Smith's first in charge following his appointment as successor to Brian Noble in March.
Morley was critical at the time of the decision to name an Australian as head coach, but Smith is in no doubt that Morley is the right man to lead the team on Friday.
"Adrian fits the bill perfectly, having represented his country on many occasions with great esteem," said Smith.
"He always takes great pride in wearing the Lions jersey and is always bursting to play for the national side."
Leeds Rhinos coach Smith, who names his squad on Tuesday, will rest a number of senior players for the fixture.
But with Morley missing a lengthy period of the current season with facial injuries, Smith feels the prop is fresh enough to play.
"A few players who have played back-to-back rugby for the last few seasons will be missing from the squad," said Smith.
"The likes of Stuart Fielden, Paul Sculthorpe and Jamie Peacock will all sit out the game so they can recharge their batteries and be ready for this autumn's Test series against New Zealand.
"Although Adrian has played in the last few Gillette Tri-Nations, the injuries he suffered at the start of this season mean he is still fresh.
"I'm sure he'll take great pride in leading out his country and will set the standards for the other players."
Whether Morley will skipper the side for the Test matches against New Zealand remains to be seen.
The forward appeared in three Grand Finals in Australia, collecting a winner's medal in 2002.
Morley also won the English Grand Final during a short spell with the Bradford Bulls in 2005.
The Salford-born forward has a fearsome on-field reputation and was dismissed after 12 seconds of a Test match against Australia in 2003 for a high tackle on Robbie Kearns.