O’Loughlin warning for England

Sean O’Loughlin has warned England not to underestimate France ahead of the Gillette Fusion International at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday.

France will give debuts to a number of players and despite admitting that Bobbie Goulding’s side are something of an unknown quantity, O’Loughlin is expecting a professional performance from a side that ran England close in the Gillette Four Nations last year.

O’Loughlin said: “There’s a lot of players that we don’t know too much about. Obviously we play Catalans a couple of times a year, but there are quite a few names in the squad that we don’t know a lot about.

“So it’s a little bit going into the unknown but I’m sure if we prepare well, put a lot of effort into the game, we can look after ourselves.

France have had some good results over the past few years and I think that’s been down to how professional they’ve taken the games. The amount of effort and preparation they put into the games, we definitely won’t be underestimating them.”

After missing out on the 2008 World Cup and last year’s Gillette Four Nations through injury, O’Loughlin is keen to make up for lost time and put himself in contention for the Four Nations later on this year.

“I’m looking forward to the game. It’s been a while since I’ve been played at international level so it’s something I’m proud to be involved in and looking forward to,” said the 27-year old

“To play for England is massive. It’s reward for all the hard work during the season and to have a mid-season game and the opportunity to pull on an England shirt is fantastic.

“Saturday is a big step towards the tour in October and you want to impress in these games. But there’s also quite a bit left in the Super League, so you’ve got to continue playing well and if you do that you’ve got the rewards of the Four Nations at the end.”

O’Loughlin is joined in the England squad by Wigan team-mates Sam and Joel Tomkins and the loose forward believes that the new additions to the squad will benefit England ahead of the games Down Under in October.

“It’s great for the lads that are involved from Wigan and for the club that some quite a few players are involved. As for making a difference to the team, it’s the best players in the league that get picked, so that’s what it’s all about,” added O’Loughlin. 

“Joel has more than impressed this year with his game time that he’s played. He’s looking forward to stepping up to the plate and I’m sure he’ll put a good account of himself.

“It’s good that there are new people coming in, new faces and being blooded at international level and getting their chances. With the experience they get from these games that can kick them on in Super League and hopefully that will benefit the squad at the end of the year.

“Hopefully there will be enough time between the games for the fans to watch both games and hopefully we can get a good turnout. It’s a great little ground and a great little development so hopefully we can get a big crowd to create an atmosphere and a good occasion.”

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