Bennett defends England camp cancellation

England head coach Wayne Bennett
England head coach Wayne Bennett

England head coach Wayne Bennett insists he - and he alone - was responsible for a breakdown in communication with Super League clubs after having to cancel a pre-season training camp in Dubai in January.

Bennett and the Rugby Football League were forced to cancel the trip after several Super League coaches, including Saints’ Keiron Cunningham, objected.

The Australian said he “repaired some of the damage” during a meeting with those coaches on Wednesday night.

“The guys were great and we are all moving on,” he told Radio Merseyside.

“We had a good meeting last night, I’m pleased how that went.

Bennett is in England for only the third time in nine months because his Brisbane Broncos side face Warrington Wolves in the World Club Series on Saturday.

He will reconvene with the England squad for a mid-season Test against Samoa on May 7 in Sydney - one of the host nations alongside New Zealand and Papa New Guinea for the World Cup, which begins in October.

England assistant coaches Paul Anderson and Paul Sculthorpe, the former St Helens skipper, will also host a series of camps throughout the season for Bennett’s 31-man elite training squad.

However, the 67-year-old says some players will be required to take part in “more intense-type training” on Mondays.

“I’m not saying they don’t train intensely, because they do,” added Bennett.

“But there is just a little gap that we found through GPS and monitoring all the games and all the systems that we picked up on.

“They are pretty excited about the Test in May - a small training camp where we can just reinforce some things and get another practice behind us before the World Cup starts.”

Bennett once again refuted suggestions the RFL has encouraged him to select English-born players competing in Super League rather than Australian-born players from the NRL.

It had been suggested Bennett was willing to exploit eligibility rules to call up several star names from Australia.

“I’m not closing the door on anybody,” said the former Australia coach.

“I want the best players to play for England, regardless of where they are it will be the best players that are going to be there.”

But Bennett, halfway through a two-year deal with England, will leave any decision on his own future until after the World Cup.

“If I am adding value and think I can make a difference here then that will be part of my decision-making process,” he said.

“But if I’m not getting to the players and we’re not getting any better, then I’m not going to waste anybody’s time.

“I came here to make a difference and that’s what I’m trying to do, attempting to do. If that’s not going to succeed then I’ll give someone else the opportunity.”