Smith: We wanted to face Australia

England coach Tony Smith said his side was motivated by the opportunity to play Australia in the Gillette Four Nations Final at Elland Road.

England beat New Zealand 20-12 at Huddersfield to set up another clash with the Kangaroos.

Smith said his side had not done themselves justice in last week’s 26-16 defeat to Australia and wanted to set the record straight.

“The players are really pleased to make the final, but we’re not done yet,” said Smith. “That was part of the motivation tonight: we wanted another crack at Australia.

“We felt we did not do ourselves justice in the first half last week and we want to put together two decent halves of rugby league and see where it takes us.”

Australia coach Tim Sheens believes his side’s tough encounter with France will prove to be better preparation than a completely one-sided game.

The Kanagroos beat France 42-4, but the game was hard fought with Sheens’ men holding a slender 8-0 lead at the half-time interval.

“Running up a hundred up against a French side wouldn’t have done us any good,” he said. “The boys had to work hard and it was a good 80 minute for some of them.

“I’d rather be trying to improve than playing at the top of our game and being a little worried about not being able to go to that next level.

“I think there was a bit of that last year in the World Cup. They played so well to get there and then they had a few hiccups and it really caught them off guard.”


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