The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Kearney and Marshall impressed with England

Coach Stephen Kearney and captain Benji Marshall singled out the home side for special mention soon after the Kiwis arrived in England for the defence of the Four Nations title they won last year.
Kearney and Marshall impressed with England
by NRL

Coach Stephen Kearney and captain Benji Marshall singled out the home side for special mention soon after the Kiwis arrived in England for the defence of the Four Nations title they won last year.

England has been boosted for this year's tournament by the inclusion of Brisbane centre Jack Reed, Wests Tigers back rower Chris Heighington and New Zealander Rangi Chase, who now plays for Castleford and won the English Super League's Man of Steel award this year.

Reed was born in England and Heighington also qualifies through heritage while Chase was able to elect to play for England on residential grounds after joining Castleford after the 2008 NRL season.

Kearney said the Kiwis were wary of the challenges presented when playing in England. The Kiwis lost all three Tests here in 2007 and the Kearney-coached 2008 World Cup winners fell to England in Huddersfield in 2009, missing out on qualifying for the final of the last Four Nations tournament played here.

"The last two times over here weren't too successful for us'" he said.

"The side England has put together is probably the strongest I have seen for quite some time."

Marshall also had plenty of respect for England.

"England will be very dangerous. They're really growing as a side and have a lot of strike power in their backs," he said.

"I've got some friends playing for them, two from my club team (Wests Tigers forwards Gareth Ellis and Chris Heighington) and one I used to play with in Rangi Chase. I'm really excited for them."

Experienced Kiwi winger Jason Nightingale also knows Chase well from his two seasons with St George Illawarra in 2007-2008.

"Rangi is a player with real x factor," said Nightingale.

"He's got a spark to him and he'll really help England around the ruck."

England prepared for their opening Four Nations match against Wales next weekend by beating France in front of a big crowd of almost 17,000 in Avignon on Friday night. Chase was named man of the match while Reed ran 70 metres for his try.

While England would be a threat, the priority for the Kiwis is their opening match against Australia in Warrington next Friday night.

"We are more concerned about preparing well and doing all we can to ensure we perform the best we can each week," said Kearney.

"Australia will be looking to make up for what happened last year (when they were beaten by the Kiwis in the final) with this also being Darren Lockyer's last campaign in the Australian jumper so it's going to be a really big challenge."

Marshall said the players were driven to rebound from the disappointing 6-42 loss to the Kangaroos in Newcastle.

"We got trashed by the Australians last week," he said.

"They're tough losses to take but, if anything, we've come closer together.

"Next week is the start of the tournament and we want to get things off to a good start. For us, we want to build momentum. That all begins next week."

The Kiwis had a pool recovery session in Liverpool this morning after their 34-hour journey from Sydney and will have strength and field sessions tomorrow.

This evening all 23 players and staff will be at Anfield to watch Liverpool take on Norwich City in the English Premier League.

Wigan's Thomas Leuluai joined the team at their Liverpool base - the Hilton - on Friday.




Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories