Olympics spurring England team: Peacock - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Olympics spurring England team: Peacock

By Laine Clark 24/10/2008 08:13:51 PM Comments (0)

Self belief of "Olympic" proportions will push England toward their first Rugby League World Cup title since 1972, according to captain Jamie Peacock.

And the England skipper reckons the future of international rugby league may depend on it.

Brits never seem to miss a chance to remind everyone - particularly Australians - of their overdue success at the Beijing Olympics, and it seems Peacock is no exception.

The Leeds prop says his team is still buzzing from Great Britain's fourth placing in Beijing and their Paralympic runners-up finish.

"If anything has given us that added incentive to achieve, it is the success that the country enjoyed at the Olympic Games and Paralympics in Beijing over the summer," Peacock wrote in his captain's diary in The Times newspaper.

"The achievements of our athletes kick-started a new winning mentality in this country, although I never understood the mood of acceptance at coming second at anything.

"The Olympians and Paralympians did a great job and you cannot help but think: `yes, I want a piece of that, too - yes, I want to win for my country'."

Peacock may have inadvertently added more pressure on his team to perform at the World Cup, starting with Saturday night's clash with PNG in Townsville.

The hulking forward believes an England World Cup title win may force the game's governing body to take international rugby league seriously.

"League's problem has been never taking the international game seriously enough," he said.

"Where's the World Cup after this one?

"Union plans eight years in advance, but we've no definite date, only the possibility of another World Cup in 2013.

"Frankly, that is not good enough.

"The thing that would force people to take notice is England winning the tournament.

"You could bet then that Australia would be looking to arrange another World Cup as fast as possible."

World Cup tournament director Colin Love has recently confirmed the Rugby League International Federation's plans to stage another tournament in 2013.

It will be held in five years' time to avoid a clash with the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The RLIF also intends to stage a World Cup every four years after 2013.

Peacock compared an England tournament victory with the country's stunning 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph.

"There is an opportunity for rugby league to grab national attention over the coming four weeks," he said.

"As the England rugby union team experienced in 2003, winning a World Cup can change people's perception of a sport.

"I might not be around the international scene for many more years, but I want to see those players coming up given every incentive.

"I don't want to play rugby union and never have, but you cannot help but feel jealous about how their top players are rewarded and that England get to play regularly in front of about 70,000 people at Twickenham.

"It is in our hands as England players to change some of that."

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