McNamara seeks perfection in pressure game

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England coach Steve McNamara believes his side are capable of attaining the perfect blend tonight in order to reach the Gillette Four Nations final.

He returns to his home city of Hull for the game against New Zealand which will decide who plays Australia in next week’s Elland Road showpiece.

The two countries are level on points and also, remarkably, points difference after both defeated Wales but lost to the favourites Kangaroos.

A draw would suffice for the Kiwis due to their superior points percentage but McNamara believes his side are gathering pace at just the right time.

“There’s a lot at stake,” he said, ahead of the KC Stadium contest which is closing in on a 25,000 capacity crowd.

“We need to play with a lot of passion and a lot of control at the same time.

“If we get that mix right, we will be a tough side to beat but we know we’re up against a Kiwi team that has been very successful in the last four years.

“We’ve improved each week throughout the tournament without doubt and I’m sure we’ll see some more improvement this week to get us over the line.”

Coach Iestyn Harris paid tribute to Wales star Lee Briers after the captain revealed his 23rd cap against Australia tomorrow will be his last before retiring from the international stage.

Briers, 33, will join Harris’s coaching staff in readiness for the 2013 World Cup and the coach said: “Lee’s played against Australia a few times in his career and it’s a fitting tribute to what he’s done for Wales Rugby League to finish against arguably the best team in the world.

“They are the team that everybody wants the opportunity to play against.

“To finish his Welsh career on this sort of a high, whatever the result, is certainly a good send-off for him and I think the players will embrace that and look to put in a good performance.”

Warrington stand-off Briers, who began his career with St Helens, said: “It’s been a really tough decision because of the pleasure I’ve had but sometimes you’ve just got to realise that it’s time for the next generation.”

Wrexham will be the scene of his swansong, 13 years after his international debut, and also now the home of the latest club to join the Rugby Football League.

North Wales Crusaders will take their place in Co-operative Championship One in 2012 although they will not yet feature in the Northern Rail Cup

The application from the club that was formed from the ashes of the failed Super League outfit was yesterday formally accepted by the RFL’s board of directors.