The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Sheens bracing for 'intense' US at RLWC

The ultimate mismatch it may be, but Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens says the intensity of sudden death rugby league will ensure Australia are tested in their quarter-final against World Cup surprise packets the United States.
Sheens bracing for 'intense' US at RLWC
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

MANCHESTER, England, Nov 15 AAP - The ultimate mismatch it may be, but Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens says the intensity of sudden death rugby league will ensure Australia are tested in their quarter-final against World Cup surprise packets the United States.

The sides meet in Wrexham, Wales in an unlikely match-up on Saturday, with the Tomahawks defying their 500-1 pre-tournament odds to progress to the last eight.

All fairytales have an ending and that will surely come against Sheens' tournament favourites this week.

But the Australian coach says his players would be foolish to expect a repeat of some relatively straight-forward group stage wins.

"The intensity will lift this week in every game, it doesn't matter who you're playing," Sheens said.

"Because it's sudden death now and no-one holds back.

"You ask the guys the difference between the NRL (regular season) and semi-finals, it's chalk and cheese.

"No matter who you play, you've got to show them respect."

Not that Sheens believes the Tomahawks have stumbled into the quarter-finals by accident.

Despite not even knowing all of his players' names when he accepted a late SOS to coach the side, Terry Matterson guided the US to wins over the Cook Islands and Wales, despite a punishing schedule of three games in nine days.

A sprinkling of players with NRL experience, including captain Joseph Paulo and forwards Clint Newton and Eddy Pettybourne, have been crucial to the Americans' success.

"They have got there because of experience and they are a well-coached side," Sheens said.

"They're showing good shape and enthusiasm and they're going to come out with a win-or-get-eliminated attitude."

After rotating his squad in pool wins over Fiji and Ireland, Sheens will field his strongest available team against the US.

There is expected to be only a couple of changes from the side that beat England in the tournament opener, with in-form playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans to replace the dropped Robbie Farah as a bench utility.

Veteran centre Brent Tate has also been axed, with Jarryd Hayne likely to partner Greg Inglis in the centres, while rookie Boyd Cordner has all but secured their interchange spot vacated by injured backrower Luke Lewis.

Vice captain Paul Gallen must pass a late fitness test on a leg injury.

Australia's build-up to the match started dramatically with fullback Billy Slater involved in a nightclub fight early on Monday morning, but the players insist it has not hampered preparations.

The winner of the match will face either Samoa or Fiji in the semi-finals.




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...
FootyTeams
USA
Australia

Popular News Stories