LEROY CUDJOE will return to the Huddersfield Giants with his confidence sky high after helping England clinch this Autumn’s International Series.
The in-form 24-year-old centre was again in rock-solid form as the hosts beat France 48-4 in last night’s final at the City of Salford Stadium.
Cudjoe’s final performance followed on from impressive early displays in the group wins over the French and Wales.
Helping England win their first piece of silverware since the World Cup 40 years ago was without doubt the highlight for the former Newsome Panthers junior.
And even though he is now taking a well-earned break until early December, he can’t wait to get back onto the training field with his Huddersfield teammates.
“These last few months with England have been fantastic,” he said.
“I’ve loved every single minute of my time here, and to play in all three games felt brilliant.
“Obviously, the highlight was playing in the final and winning it, even though it wasn’t my best ever performance or the best ever England performance.
“But winning the trophy was still the perfect finish to the season for me and it’s again given me a big boost in confidence.
“It’s also made me look forward to coming back to pre-season training with the Giants even more.
“I’m planning to come back into the club in December, and I know I’ll be returning with a big smile on my face.”
Cudjoe will, however, be hoping some of the Giants’ Super League clashes next season will be a lot more entertaining than some of what was served up during last night’s encounter.
Due to crowd congestion outside the City of Salford Stadium, kick-off time was put back by 15 minutes.
But that frustration was then taken into the start of the contest as the first half proved a lack-lustre affair, lacking any real passion and intensity.
Part of that may have been down to the fact that England never looked as if they were going to lose.
France did have their attacking moments, but all too often they were snuffed out by a far more organised and disciplined defence.
So it was certainly no surprise that the host nation led 18-0 at the break.
England took the lead on their first meaningful attack after 10 minutes when Ryan Hall strolled over in the corner for Kevin Sinfield to land the first of his eight goals, and the writing was already on the wall.
If this clash needed to capture the imagination it was vital the French held the early initiative and made England scrap for their lives.
That never materialised.
And with Sam Tomkins and Hall crossing for scores to open up that 18-point interval advantage, the second period looked little more than a damage limitation exercise for the plucky visitors.
Two tries in the opening 10 minutes from Hall and Josh Charnley made it clear there was to be little shift in power.
And in the final quarter, Tomkins, man-of-the-match Hall (in recognition of his four tries) and Rob Burrow crossed for further scores to rub salt into the French wounds.
Unfortunately, a last-minute consolation try from Mathias Pala failed to hide the gulf in class.