England bemoan cut-throat Four Nations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England bemoan cut-throat Four Nations

07/11/2010 11:00:57 PM Comments (0)

England coach Steve McNamara was left bemoaning the Four Nations format which gave his side little chance of recovering from a poor start to the tournament.

England's disappointing campaign finished on a bright note when they secured a 36-10 win over Papua New Guinea in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

But the damage had already been done for the tourists, who paid the price for a poor first half against New Zealand in the tournament opener which left them facing a tough battle to qualify for the final.

A loss to Australia in week two put paid to those hopes, with McNamara saying the format - with each side playing each other once before the top two advance to the final - left little room for error.

The old Tri-Nations formula saw all the teams play each other twice.

"We feel that we've got some really good things in place and we really would have loved a second crack and both New Zealand and Australia," McNamara said.

"I know the Four Nations tournament is set out differently but for us to improve we need to play these sides more than once.

"The more times you expose yourself at this level, the better it will be and the quicker that gap closes."

McNamara said planning was already underway for next year's tournament in England, in which Wales will replace Papua New Guinea as the fourth side.

"The players have to wait 12 months to get another crack at these people but there's a real excitement about getting them on our home soil," McNamara said.

Meanwhile prop James Graham said he was not expecting to retain the England captaincy which he inherited when both Adrian Morley and Jamie Peacock were forced out with injury.

"I have enjoyed it," said Graham.

"It's something that probably won't sink in until afterwards but I didn't want to be an England captain that's come away and not won anything. It's an opportunity gone in my eyes.

"Whether I get to keep the job is up to Steve McNamara.

"Obviously we've got two great leaders in Moz and JP and, if they're back, I can only presume that one of them would get the job."

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