Leeds star Handley ready to show he’s really the ‘brains’ in World Cup audition

After failing his ‘mock’ World Cup audition, Leeds Rhinos winger Ash Handley is ready to make sure he performs for the real deal.

The England hopeful took part in a RLWC2021 promotion spoof video sketch where international players showcase their hidden talents.

Wakefield’s Scotland hooker Liam Hood belted out Cheryl Cole’s Fight For this Love while Huddersfield’s Jamaica star Michael Lawrence comically tried out on his recorder.

Handley’s talent was his ‘brain’, challenging judges to ask him absolutely anything, guaranteeing he’d get it right – only to say England were the last men’s World Cup winners and Samoa is in South America!

But is the prolific Yorkshireman actually a know-it-all?

“No, not really – but I did know the answers to those questions if that’s what you mean!” said Handley, who hopes to add to his try account against Hull FC on Thursday.

“I’ve not had much stick from the lads yet. And it was a good laugh.

“I was there when Liam was doing that Cheryl Cole impression. He was pretty good actually!

“If I was doing a talent show properly, I think I’d be a decent singer like him.

“I’d do some James Arthur. Or maybe a bit of John Legend.”

Handley, 26, has represented England Nines and was a late replacement on the 2019 Great Britain Lions tour but has still yet to earn a Test cap.

He missed out on Shaun Wane’s latest England squad last week but responded in a perfect manner with a hat-trick in Leeds’ first win of the season at Wakefield Trinity.

Handley – who captains hometown Rhinos tonight with Kruise Leeming suspended – said: “Shaun Wane said he’s still looking at me and it’s not the final squad as the World Cup is not until the end of the year.

“He just wants me to keep working hard.


“I’m just going to focus on playing well for Leeds.

“It’s almost like everyone is auditioning for a spot.”

Slick Rhinos, who have lost Harry Newman for six weeks to a recurring hamstring issue, turned on the style in the first half against Wakefield.

They want more of that when Hull arrive at Headingley but the visitors are looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 33-26 loss at Castleford.

Handley said: “They are dangerous. Jake Connor is obviously one of their go-to men and we’ll have to keep an eye on him.

“But we want to carry on from last week. It’s good to showcase what we can do as a team.

“Our new half-backs Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer really gelled and I just got to finish things off.”

If he carries on finishing in that manner, don’t be surprised to see him singing come the World Cup.

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