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Embrace the fear factor - McNamara

England coach Steve McNamara believes the fear of taking on the world champions can bring out the best in his team.
Embrace the fear factor - McNamara
by AAP

By Ian Laybourn LONDON, Nov 19 PA - England coach Steve McNamara believes the fear of taking on the world champions can bring out the best in his team.

McNamara's men have yet to hit their straps in the World Cup and arguably produced their worst performance in last Saturday's 34-6 quarter-final win over France.

They will be clear underdogs against the Kiwis in Saturday's semi-final at Wembley, but McNamara is confident his players will rise to the occasion.

"I think we play a whole lot better when there is an element of fear in the back of our minds," McNamara said.

"Playing a really good opposition brings the best out in you. These boys are definitely up for it, I guarantee it."

While England have had hit purple patches in all their four matches, including the opener against Australia, they have struggled to maintain the intensity throughout.

New Zealand, on the other hand, have cruised into the last four, and McNamara does not go along with the theory that the one-sided contests will leave them under-prepared.

"They've had some teams who have been highly motivated to play against them but they haven't been able to do that because of what the Kiwis have done to them."

McNamara will again have an injury-free squad to pick from and, after a below-par display against the French, he seems certain to make changes - although he wasn't giving much away.

New Zealand's main threat is expected to come second rower Sonny Bill Williams, but McNamara isn't putting a plan in place to combat the former All Black specifically.

"We'll certainly be prepared, not just for Sonny Bill but for all of them because there are a plenty of people who have got talent in their team."

McNamara believes playing at could be a factor in helping his side produce an upset.

"Playing at our national stadium is not something the England rugby league team does very often and it really is special," he said.

"We played Australia two years back and it was a great occasion but this is a World Cup semi-final, this is probably as good as it gets."

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