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Rugby League

Robinson eager for starting role

Luke Robinson would leap at the chance of starting for England for the first time against Australia on Sunday, but will not complain at being asked to make his contribution from the bench once more.

The England coach, Steve McNamara, has hinted that the Huddersfield half-back might be promoted for the Four Nations match here. Robinson is not counting on that, however. "The important thing for me is being in the team," he said. "I enjoy coming into the game as a sub. I like to think I add some enthusiasm off the bench."

Robinson is used to having to fight for his place. He was under pressure at his club when the Giants signed Danny Brough in mid-season, but lifted his game so that he was impossible to leave out, either in his original scrum-half position or his new role of hooker.

"My view is that I'm glad to see us signing good players, because it's that competition for players that makes you successful," he said.

Both coaches, McNamara and Australia's Tim Sheens, are contemplating changes for the game at the new AAMI Park.

One area England will leave well alone is the second row of the pack. Gareth Ellis and Sam Burgess ply their trade in Australia's NRL, for Wests Tigers and South Sydney respectively. Yesterday, two Kangaroos forwards, Petero Civoniceva and Paul Gallen, called the England pairing the best in the world.