Dave Hadfield

Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.

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The captains from the 14 competing nations line up with the World Cup trophy

Rugby League World Cup: Showcase can lift game's spirits

The build-up to this year's tournament has been far from smooth, but it is still a chance to show all that is good about the sport

As player of the year Cameron Smith has plenty to smile about

Rugby League World Cup: World No 1 Cameron Smith is the glue in the Aussie camp

Captain full of praise for England and plays down talk of rifts within his own squad

Gareth Hock overslept and missed an England recovery session

Rugby League World Cup: England out of order to drop me for missing team swim, says Gareth Hock

30-year-old livid after he is kicked out of tournament for oversleeping after late-night drink

Kevin Sinfield (left) leaves the field after England's 15-14 defeat by Italy on Saturday

Rugby League World Cup 2013: Kevin Sinfield believes criticism from Italy defeat will spur England on

Captain says the team will stick together and move on

Sam Burgess struggles to find a way through against Italy during England’s shock 15-14 defeat

Rugby World Cup: Five things England have to work on – and fast – after that Italy debacle

Confidence-wrecker or wake-up call – Dave Hadfield considers how Steve McNamara’s men can make the best of a pre-World Cup shock

Play it twice Sam: Tomkins and Burgess are key to England's hopes of a home win

The Rugby League World Cup, eh? How long has this been going on?

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England fumbled their way to the most humiliating result in their history against World Cup debutants Italy, in their warm up match for the tournament. The World Cup will not live up to English hopes and expectations if they perform as they did last night, when it took them until the 38th minute to get their noses in front of what is largely a team of second- and third-generation Aussie journeymen.

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