Scratchy England need to step up a lot, says McNamara

Steve McNamara labelled England‘s win over France as their worst performance of the World Cup.

His side ran in six tries, including two apiece for wingers Josh Charnley and Ryan Hall, to defeat France 34-6 and book a semi-final place against New Zealand, but were largely uninspiring.

McNamara said: “It was very scratchy, probably our worst performance.

“In the other three games, there’s been some positive things, but I think tonight we played with no fear of the opposition, and that didn’t help us, and we put in a substandard performance.

“I think it’s quite clear we need to step up a lot (against New Zealand).”

Once again it was a purple patch of around 20 minutes in which England scored most of their points, having fell behind to an early Vincent Duport try.

France, who managed just three tries in the whole tournament, were thrashed 48-0 when they met New Zealand in Avignon earlier just over two weeks ago.

McNamara added: “We didn’t start particularly well, and we had a chance to rectify that, but the second half error count was one of the highest I’ve ever seen.

“No disrespect to France, but I think our team plays better when there’s an element of fear, and if they don’t get it right, they understand the consequences.”

England will face the Kiwis at Wembley on Saturday in the first of the semi-final double headers, in what organisers are calling “The Big Hit”.

In the other semi-final, Australia, fresh from their 62-0 thrashing of USA, will play the winners of the fourth quarter final between Samoa and Fiji, which takes place at Warrington on Sunday afternoon.

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