England Head Coach Steve McNamara believes the future of English Rugby League is bright after seeing England Academy defeat the Australian Schoolboys in the first of a two-Test series at Leigh Sports Village last Saturday.
McNamara was watching from the stands as the Academy fought back from a 12-point deficit to secure an impressive 38-30 victory over the Schoolboys and feels the performance shows promising signs for the future of England Rugby League.
“Every time we beat Australia I think it’s good for our game,” said McNamara. “It’s the first time many of these players have played against an Australian representative side and there is always an element of the unknown.
“I think the team did very well and showed some tremendous spirit to come back from behind, even though they were very dominant throughout.
“We get a lot of access to the players at this level and I think the players are understanding what is required from them.
“They’ve had some exposure now and I think that performance shows the future of England Rugby League is very promising. These players will all be striving to get in the senior side in the coming years and it’s great to see such a talented crop coming through.”
With England also dominating in the current Ashes Cricket series, the Academy will be determined to complete the first sporting victory over the Australians this winter and complete a 2-0 whitewash against the Schoolboys in what would be their first series victory over the Kangaroos since 2004.
“To beat Australia you have to have a team performing well and not just individuals,” said McNamara. “Everyone was very pleased with that performance and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform again next week.
“The boys will have earned a confidence boost from the result but both sides will play better next week. The first time you ride a bike you fall off, but next time you get on better and I think both teams will come out stronger next week and it promises to be a great game.”