England Rugby: Steve McNamara confident ahead of Italy clash


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England coach Steve McNamara says he is very happy with the make-up of his side and is in a confident mood ahead of Saturday’s friendly with Italy.

The men in white continue their preparations for their World Cup opener against Australia on October 26, when they take on Italy at the Salford City Stadium and McNamara says they are in good shape.

“The make-up of the side looks very exciting, with the right blend of youth and experience,” he said.

“Our preparation has been first-class and we have trained exceptionally well at our camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

“This is the best prepared side to come from England and we are ready for what promises to be the most competitive World Cup in history.”

Italy, who have Sydney Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello in their side, will be no pushovers and McNamara is expecting a tough game.

“We are delighted to be playing against Italy in the historic international,” McNamara added.

“Italy have made tremendous progress and are well equipped with quality players representing them from the NRL and Super League.”

Sam Burgess is the only Burgess brother to start against Italy as George is named on the bench while Tom will play for the England Knights against Samoa instead.

Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood misses out through suspension, while Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin also sits out the game.

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