Rivals weigh meaning of Four Nations win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rivals weigh meaning of Four Nations win

By Steve Jancetic 13/11/2009 10:07:48 PM Comments (0)

England hasn't won a major tournament in almost 40 years, by Kangaroos hooker Cameron Smith reckons they can claim to be the world's best if they upset the Kangaroos in Saturday's Four Nations final.

England drought spans back to 1972, a period spanning seven World Cups and four Tri-Nations tournaments.

But years of heartache and in some cases embarrassment can be wiped away with victory at Elland Road, and Smith says England will rightfully assume top dog status from World Cup holders New Zealand with victory.

"If we lose then England's No.1 - that's the way I see it," Smith said.

"The top four nations in the world have had their opportunity to put their hand up to be the best side and New Zealand were the best last year because they won the World Cup and now they're out so it's out of us and England."

England coach Tony Smith said he would take the No.1 ranking with open arms if his team prevailed but they needed to aim well beyond that.

"Whoever wins it is world champion, there's no doubt about that," Smith said.

"That's the enormity of it. If we win it, yes we deserve to be world champions.

"What I'm about and what I'd like this country to be about is not just to be one-off winners.

"I'd like us to be competing in finals year after year, and after you win it for a few years, you can start to say, well we really are the world champions.

"I don't think we're in a position where we can say we've overtaken the Aussies and Kiwis yet - we are competing but we want to get to the level where they're actually looking at what we're doing.

"I would hate for us to just have one good year and then another three bad years. That would be a failure for us."

Just where defeat would leave Australia in the order of merit is just as open for debate.

They have made the final in each of the last four major tournaments, but a loss at the hands of England on Saturday night would leave them with just one win from those four finals - that being the 2006 Tri-Nations decider when they pipped New Zealand in golden point.

Australian skipper Darren Lockyer claimed the tough run of recent seasons was proof of the competitiveness of international rugby league, an image that was rammed home by Kangaroos team management this week when images from last year's World Cup defeat were posted on the team's notice board early one morning.

They didn't make it to breakfast before they were ripped off and thrown on the floor.

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