The England captain, Jamie Peacock, believes that the best chance of containing Australia's glittering back division in the Four Nations might lie in bad weather and boredom. Speaking at the launch of the tournament at Elland Road yesterday, Peacock admitted that a threequarter line including Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne and Justin Hodges, not to mention Billy Slater at full-back, would be almost impossible to counter in good conditions.
"I don't think we've ever had the back line to match that," Peacock said. "I'm hoping for the weather to slow them down a bit. It's different for them touring, especially in this country with a lack of things to do and I suppose it can get you down."
Peacock has the right to insist, however, that England, who start the tournament against France on Friday night, have nothing to fear from the forwards. His coach, Tony Smith, was hopeful yesterday that Sam Burgess would be fit to take his place in the pack after picking up a knock to the knee against Wales on Saturday, but there are doubts about two other unnamed players.
The French coach, Bobbie Goulding, expects to face a half-back pairing of Danny McGuire and Richie Myler at Doncaster, despite the latter's ring-rusty display in Bridgend. "I've known Richie and his dad for years and he's a very talented kid," said Goulding, who comes from a similar background in Widnes.
Goulding has brought the Lezignan half-back James Wynne into his squad.Reuse content