Malta coach Anthony Micallef believes that his team are going to be close to their best by the time they take on Belgium at Headingley on Sunday.
Micallef thinks that his team’s intense focus on fitness should stand them in good stead against the Belgians, who are something of an unknown quantity for the Malta coach.
“The local boys have worked hard off the pitch for the last six weeks, and will have four field sessions this week to tune up their on field part” said Micallef.
“As a group, I don’t think they’ve ever been fitter at this time of year before.
“But the boys are comfortable, and we will arrive in the UK with a couple of days to prepare, so mentally they will be ready to go come Sunday.”
Gathering the squad together can be a tough process for Micallef, with his net cast over a wide geographic net to land the best possible group of players.
“It’s logistically a big project to get the team taking the field, but our players have already started arriving in the UK,” he explained.
“There’s a couple of injury concerns and players dealing with their clubs for releases, but that’s part of the game at this level.
“So they will definitely be bringing their A team. But we’d expect nothing less. We’re really looking forward to it. And Leeds Rhinos are putting on a great day at Headingley, it will be great for the crowd that gets in before the sell-out.
“I’ve spoken with my captains, they’ll be presented to the team later this week. With Parker out injured and Clifford unavailable, there is certainly two very deserving individuals to lead the team come Sunday.”