Crabtree queries England selections


Huddersfield Giants prop Eorl Crabtree is refusing to get carried away with England‘s international success against New Zealand in the autumn.

Although Steve McNamara’s England team brought a long fallow period to an end with a muhc-needed 2-1 series win over the Kiwis, Crabtree was not that impressed.

The 33-year-old paid close attention to the series, as he was working as a pundit for the BBC TV team covering it.

“I don’t think they were fantastic,” he told Love Rugby League.

“I was there in another capacity, obviously I didn’t get selected, and I didn’t particularly want to be. I had a holiday booked and stuff like that.

“I don’t expect to be in the future either! But I saw it from another side.

“I don’t think individuals played particularly badly. But I think there were some that struggled, though.

“I’m not going to start saying names, but I think it came down to selection.

“I think the selection for the last game was right.

“I don’t think it was right at first, but by the last game it was better.

“I don’t think these individuals had shockers or anything like that, it was just it didn’t work.”

Crabtree, a former international front-rower himself, acknowledges just how much talent there is in this current England team, especially up front.

He does not think that those players are currently being used to optimum effect, however.

“With the players that we’ve got, we could beat anybody, and it’s about finding a way to play that suits them, and using them to the best advantage,” he added.

“The prop forwards and the pack are ridiculous! We used to that our advantage, but at the same time we didn’t see to have any edge options.

“We didn’t seem fluent, we seemed to get lost.

“I don’t know whether that’s because we need to play more games, and the players just get thrown in a little bit.”

New Zealand went into the series having to play utility backs in the halves, as well as cope with injuries across the park.

Crabtree expected England to be more dominant, given the Kiwis’ issues with absences, and suspects that the team was somewhat under-prepared.

“I thought the Kiwis gave it a good shot,” he said.

“With all the players that they didn’t have in the side, I would have expected us to be better.

“[The result] will give us confidence, but I don’t know if we might need a bit more preparation.

“Not necessarily in camp, but maybe some sort of warm-up games, because I don’t think it was great.

“I don’t think that form would have won a World Cup, but it is a platform to build on.”

One selection issue which England coach Steve McNamara definitely did not get right, according to Crabtree, is leaving Jermaine McGillvary out until the Third Test.

Crabtree believes his club mate should have been in the side from the start.

“He got a shot in the final when he should have been playing all the way through, obviously,” he said.

“He went really well, and that will bode well for him in the future.”