Games help McNamara plot towards World Cup campaign

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VICTORIOUS England coach Steve McNamara last night insisted the much-maligned autumn international series will give his side a greater chance of winning the World Cup next year.

A 48-4 win over France at Salford City Stadium saw the Yorkshireman lift his first trophy since taking over in 2010.

Questions have been asked about the worthiness of the autumn international series after an 80-12 rout of Wales was followed by back-to-back sizeable victories over France.

But, after they prepared with a high-altitude training camp in South Africa, McNamara says the last month has been invaluable.

“I don’t think you can put a price on it,” he insisted.

“From the outside it’s hard to understand but these blokes beat the hell out of each other each week.

“Rugby league is not just winning on the scoreboard; it’s physically beating the opposition up and doing it for 27 rounds,” said McNamara.

“But this last month has been really important and they’ve come together as a group.

“They’re all very close friends now and this has helped. We’re not Australia and we’re not New Zealand. We know we have some catching up to do but we have done that for a number of years now.

“I’m not saying what we’re doing will guarantee success (next year) but it will guarantee giving ourselves the best opportunity to get success.”

McNamara was pleased with the effort of his side as they made improvements on their previous win over France.

“We were better this week,” he said.

“I think France were a lot better as well.

“It was a difficult game in terms of really trying to get momentum and speed going.

“When we did we looked potent but credit to France.

“They did all they could to slow us down and they were a whole lot better.”

The one downside was conceding a 79th-minute try after almost keeping France scoreless for the entirety.

“We’d have loved to have kept them to zero,” he said.

“We were all intent on doing that and a kick was probably the only way they’d get across.

“There a little bit of a slip from young Josh (Charnley) and he’ll be disappointed but overall we’re not.”

Castleford Tigers’ Rangi Chase, who missed the tournament’s first game through injury and was overlooked for the second, came in for Richie Myler at scrum-half.

He had not played for nearly two months and McNamara admitted: “He was a bit rusty.

“He did a couple of really good and a couple of not so good things.

“He was pleased to get out there. With Rangi, we need to consistently keep challenging him, driving him.

“He’s not found it easy, had a bit of an injury and was then not in, but I think he’ll be better next season for this.”