McNamara wary of strong Exiles squad


England coach Steve McNamara has admitted he is impressed by Brian McLennan’s squad for next week’s International Origin fixture.

McClennan has named a 19-man squad which features 12 Australians, four Samoans, one Kiwi, a Tongan and a Cook Islander, all of whom are drawn from Super League clubs.

McNamara said: “It’s a very impressive squad but that’s what we expected given the calibre of overseas players in Super League.

“There are some very good players who haven’t made the 19, which underlines how tough a proposition the Exiles are going to be.

“That’s just the way we want it: we know we are going to have to perform at our best to get the win and from a spectator’s point of view it makes for a great contest because you always need unpredictability of outcome.

The Exiles have their own style of playing, they’re very physical and at the same time play a good brand of football. It’s clear that their players have a lot of pride in their involvement with the team and Brian will tap into that.

“We have developed our own style, too, and we’re looking forward to this match immensely. The England players have been talking about the fixture for the last few months and it was clear from the conversations we had in camp last month that there is a real desire not just to be involved but to win.

“It’s very much an important game in its own right: winning or losing isn’t the be all and end all but we are aiming to be as best prepared as we can be.”

England face the Exiles at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium a week on Friday.