McNamara fills fortress Hull with fighting talk against Kiwis
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.
Thursday 10 November 2011
England will "go to war" on Saturday, with their hearts and their poppies on their sleeves and the extra inspiration of the Hull factor.
England need to beat New Zealand at the KC Stadium and their Hull-born coach, Steve McNamara, believes that a fanatical, capacity Humberside crowd will help them to do so. Advance ticket sales have already taken the attendance beyond the 21,000 record for a Test against the Kiwis in this country and there is the near certainty of a 25,000 full house.
"There's nowhere in this country where people are as passionate in their support as Hull," said McNamara, who believes that his Hull FC centre-wing combination of Kirk Yeaman and Tom Briscoe will draw particular strength from the occasion. "A packed KC Stadium can be a very intimidating place and that's what the Kiwis will be facing. We are going to war on Saturday night."
England will do so paying what they see as the appropriate tribute to rather more fundamental hostilities in the past. Unlike their football counterparts, the players at Hull will wear poppy badges ironed on to the shoulders of their shirts.
"We'll be wearing ours. We've been doing it for a number of years," said McNamara. "All sportsmen respect and support this type of cause. I think it's right that a national team should do that."
For all their fighting talk, England do not yet know whether they will be able to go into battle on Saturday with their full complement of troops. The session at Loughborough yesterday saw two-thirds of their first-choice pack either absent having treatment or on individual training schedules.
Chris Heighington is the latest addition to the list of doubts, after picking up a knock to the calf during last Saturday's defeat by Australia. Like James Graham with his back injury, however, Heighington was adamant that he will be fit to play at Hull.
More of a concern is Gareth Ellis, who was away having specialist treatment on his back, and the captain, Jamie Peacock, who trained gingerly on a sore right knee. McNamara has his "Secret Seven" – the rest of the squad who have not yet played in the tournament – standing by, but the word from the coaching staff is that all four may make it.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove