ATA HINGANO is hoping to use his loan spell at York City Knights as a springboard to cementing his place in Tonga’s World Cup squad.

Hingano has joined York on loan until the end of the season from Betfred Championship leaders Leigh Centurions, although he will not be able to make his Knights debut until the trip to Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, August 7 (3pm).

The half-back brings experience of the NRL, Betfred Super League and international rugby league to York, with the latter most predominantly coming through the 2017 World Cup.

The 25-year-old started in all of Tonga’s matches at the last World Cup, including in the narrow 20-18 semi-final defeat to England.

He is now seeking a strong finish to the year with York as he hopes again to represent his nation again on the sport’s greatest stage at the England-held World Cup from October.

“The big international games are much and faster than any other game and regular game-time will create a good base for me and really help,” Hingano said.

“Every player knows that you need that game fitness. It’s a lot different to running behind the scenes, you need that game speed and all the up down tackles.”

While arriving at York as a new recruit, he insists that he is under no illusions about the competition for starting places at the Knights, particularly at half-back, where Jamie Ellis, Liam Harris and Brendan O’Hagan are already competing for spots.

“I can’t just show up and take a spot, I will have to earn it, but regular time will definitely help,” he added.

“I’ve come from a team where it’s pretty stacked across the board and it was hard to break into that team at times.

“Fair play to the boys at Leigh, they are playing really great footy.

“I know that I will still have to work hard to get my way into the team at York.”

On how his move to the Knights came about, Hingano added: “I had a conversation with Clint (Goodchild, chairman) and the fact it’s a family club appeals to me.

“The support for the players, their families and the work in the community is reassuring to hear.

“That’s a really big thing for me, obviously my immediate family is back in New Zealand and I’ve made good friends over here but that really appealed to me.”