McNamara fills fortress Hull with fighting talk against Kiwis

 

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.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions