England Rugby League captain Jamie Peacock has given his support to the England Academy side as they prepare for a two Test series against the touring Australian Schoolboys which begins on Saturday December 4 at The Mark Coward Stadium, Barrow (K.O 2:00pm).
Peacock was in attendance at an Academy training session to pass on his personal experience and advice to the young English players and for the Leeds Rhinos star, who never had the opportunity to rise through the youth system during his own career, the prospect of seeing the 2010 Academy side in action against their Australian counterparts is one to relish.
“I think it’s great for these young players to get a chance to play Australia at this age level,” said Peacock. “My first experience of playing against the Australians was at senior Test level, so to do it at an early age is fantastic.
“I think that the key for us coming out successful in this series is to get the boys believing that they’re good enough to beat the Australian side and they are good enough in my eyes.”
Peacock was forced to miss this year’s Four Nations tournament through an injury sustained during the closing stages of the 2010 Engage Super League season, but he feels these games could have a great impact on the Academy players and enable them to go on and join a long list of Academy graduates such as Kyle Eastmond, Sam Burgess and James Graham.
“A lot of the squad have already got Super League experience and that will only give them added confidence. Once you’ve played Super League level and step down to play at your age level it gives you a big boost.”
Traditionally fixtures between England and Australia have a fearsome rivalry and Peacock knows that even at this young age the contest between the two sides will be very competitive, but he believes the Academy side have all the skills needed to come away victorious.
“I don’t know much about the Australian Schoolboys side but I know they will be a quality and very competitive side,” said Peacock. “But the England lads have the skills needed to beat them as there are some very talented players here. They’ve also got a good set of coaches looking after them which is always important and I can’t wait to see them play now.
“It’s going to be to our advantage because it will be cold, windy and horrible up here and we’ve been together for a while so I’m confident that these lads can gel together on the pitch and put in an excellent performance against the Schoolboys and come away with the victory.”
Tickets for both England Academy versus Australian Schoolboy games on Saturday, December 4 (Barrow. K.O 2:00pm) and Friday, December 10 (Castleford. K.O 7:30pm) can be purchased on the day and cost £3 adult and £2 concession (Under 16, Students and Over 65)