England eyeing Four Nations upset - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England eyeing Four Nations upset

Fred Woodcock 20/10/2010 04:24:15 PM Comments (0)

Injury-hit England have vowed to be a competitive force when they open their Four Nations rugby league campaign against New Zealand on Saturday.

On the back of injuries to skipper Jamie Peacock and replacement captain Adrian Morley, as well as shoddy second half showing in last week's 18-18 draw with New Zealand Maori, England have drifted in betting behind the host nation and favourites Australia.

Coach Steve McNamara said it was fair they were considered third favourites to win the tournament, but there was a strong feeling in the English camp that they can cause an upset on Saturday.

"We've travelled 12,000 miles and coming into your backyard is a tough ask, but we are quietly confident of performing well," McNamara told NZPA.

"We improved last season in the Four Nations and we intend to keep improving. We want to win the competition, simple as that."

England's big forwards and hard-running backs were impressive in the first half against the Maori but they tired badly in the second half.

"There's a positive from that because it gives us a real base to work from," said McNamara, who promised there would not be a repeat on Saturday.

"We did fatigue, but we always knew that would be the case and I think the fatigue will be gone this week.

"We'll be a helluva lot fresher for another week in New Zealand."

McNamara said the late loss of Morley through injury was "testing" but he was confident they had enough depth, with veteran prop Stuart Fielden replacing Morley in the only change to last week's extended 19-man squad, which will be trimmed to 17 on Friday.

McNamara said the Kiwis were "a very good team" with plenty of experience in crucial positions, such as the halves, "but we overcame them last year in the Four Nations and hopefully we can do the same here".

Second rower Sam Burgess was adamant they could beat New Zealand but when asked about what areas they might have an edge over the Kiwis, the big South Sydney Rabbitohs enforcer was stumped.

"It's a tough question," he told NZPA.

"We just have to be consistent throughout the 80 minutes, both defensively and sticking to our game plan offensively."

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