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RugbyL: Richards eager to sign off in style for Exiles

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Pat Richards admits he is desperate to sign off in style for the Exiles when they take on England in Friday's International Origin Match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.

The 31-year-old winger is currently in his final Super League season for Wigan Warriors - who he joined in 2006 - as he is due to return to Australia to re-join former club Wests Tigers in the NRL.

Having missed last year's two Origin matches through injury, Richards will be hoping for a repeat of 2011 when he guided the Exiles to victory in the inaugural fixture, kicking two goals in a 16-12 win.

And, with Wigan Warriors currently riding high at the top of the Super League table, Richards admits his confidence is high heading into another clash with Steve McNamara's England.

"I've enjoyed playing for the Exiles since its introduction and, while it's drawn more towards England, it gives us lads an opportunity to play together again," said Richards.

"It's extra special to me because this is my last chance to be in that scenario before I head back to Australia.

"While I'm hoping for success with Wigan, this concept is something I buy into and something I'll enjoy in my final season in Super League."

Richards also paid credit to his Wigan teammates who have played a vital role in establishing a five-point gap at the top of the Super League and subsequently been called up by McNamara.

"There are a number of Wigan players in the England set up and that's a reflection of the work we're doing as a club," he added.

"Josh (Charnley), Sam (Tomkins), Faz (Liam Farrell) and Lee (Mossop) are all deservedly included for the form they've demonstrated.

"They'll be a real danger to us as the Exiles, but it's fantastic as a club that our achievements have been recognised and I hope our fans buy into it."

For England, who are yet to win an Origin series since it was debuted in 2011, the Exiles fixture presents their last chance of a competitive game before the World Cup begins in the autumn.

And Huddersfield Giants forward Eorl Crabtree insists he and his side are straining at the leash to get their hands on the Exiles on Friday.

"We know we need to be well prepared for Friday. This is going to be the most intense game any of us will play all season until the World Cup starts so we need to make the most of it," said Crabtree.

"As players we all know that we need to grab the opportunity and put in a big performance and put ourselves in the frame to get selected for the World Cup at the end of the season.

"Some people have labelled the International Origin Match as a sort of warm-up for us but that's not something I agree with. This is a test for us and a massive game for the group.

"From a personal perspective I'd like to win. We haven't won this series yet against the Exiles and I'd like to be part of the England squad that changes that."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130612/rugbyl-richards-eager-sign-style-exiles