I mentioned last week that the England v Exiles fixture would give a good indication of where the national team is at in the build up to the World Cup at the end of the season and I think that overall they will be pretty satisfied with their performance.
In the first half England were particularly impressive and where good value for their healthy half time lead scoring some quality tries along the way, although the Exiles would have been disappointed with their first half contribution.
During the second half the game was a little scrappy and I’m sure the England management would confess that they lost a little bit of cohesion but despite a brief second half Exiles revival England never looked like losing the game.
At the end of the year England will be able to add the NRL players such as James Graham and Sam Burgess to their squad and.
When you consider players already in Super League who didn’t play on Friday such as Jon Wilkin, Jonny Lomax, Sean O’Loughlin and Stefan Ratchford, the England side has some real strength in depth which bodes well for the World Cup.
However, everybody will be under no illusion that come October and November the challenge facing the national team will be significantly increased and a lacklustre 15 minute spell could easily be the difference between success and failure.
It came as no surprise that James Roby was one of England’s stand out performers.
He works tirelessly in defence and is a constant threat with ball in hand. His efforts were rewarded with a great solo try when he raced 70 metres to outpace the chasing defenders.
Robes has recently been out 10 weeks through injury and when this happens it would normally take a player three weeks plus before they got back to their usual form and fitness.
But in his case it’s like he’s never been out at all.
It is a testament to his professionalism that he can very quickly produce high quality performances after a lengthy lay off and both ourselves and the national team are no doubt better teams with him in it.
g WITH us having a free weekend due to the international fixture we have been able to spend some extra time on the training field fine tuning our game.
We were pretty happy with some improvements we made in our last match but know that we still have a fair bit we can get better at.
Hopefully we can continue our improvement when we travel to Salford on Friday evening.
We are preparing for a tough match and no doubt Salford will be looking to bounce back from a poor result in their last game.
As a club Salford have gone through a great deal in the past 12 months but now under new ownership with Dr Marwan Koukash and an experienced coach in Brian Noble they look intent on becoming a major player in the coming seasons.
But it’s important from our perspective we focus solely on our performance and we are keen to string a run of good performances and results together.
g AFTER a tough week’s training last week we enjoyed an evening out at Haydock Park races as a chance to spend some time together as a squad away from our training base,
It was a really enjoyable day and we were well looked after by all at Haydock. As far as my betting was concerned though I remained luckless and gave myself a timely reminder why I shouldn’t bet on something that I know very little about.
Although if I did bet I on something I knew about I’d be going down the Sean Long and Martin Gleeson route - and that’s not advisable, it would end up costing me much more money in fines and suspension.
Jonny Lomax was the pick of the punters on the evening with four winners.
I was expecting him to use his winnings to shout a round of drinks for the boys but sadly it wasn’t to be.
He must be getting some sort of financial advice off Cloughy!
Come on you Saints - Wello