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Kevin Sinfield is confident that England will come up with the goods as they look to bounce back from the Australia loss and justify favouritism for their clash with Ireland on Saturday.
England’s World Cup preparations have been far from ideal after the side suffered a shock warm-up loss to Italy, while coach Steve McNamara has had to deal with disciplinary problems regarding Gareth Hock and the fall-out from the absence of James Graham for the opening clash against Australia.
To their credit, England gave the tournament favourites a real game although ultimately came up short in a 28-20 defeat, and captain Sinfield insists he and his team are desperate to get the campaign up and running against the Irish.
“The group is fully concentrated on what’s going on between our four walls,” said Sinfield. “Our expectation is greater than anything that anybody externally can put on us. We just want to get out there and perform and hopefully get the competition moving for us.
“The boys have just trained great, probably as well as we’ve trained for the last couple of weeks. Everybody has got a fantastic attitude towards the game and we’re looking forward to playing here in front of a full house.
“Like I said last week, and I’ll say it again, the squad is really strong and together and are really committed to trying to do something special for England. But we need to get on the board now.”
England will perhaps be looking to enjoy a more comfortable victory than they did the last time the two teams met, when they came from 10-4 down to win 26-16 in the 2000 World Cup quarter-finals.