dewsbury’s George Burgess reckons Steve McNamara’s men should feel right at home in Dunedin as it reminds him of the north of England.
England have set up camp in the south island of New Zealand, having flown from Melbourne to complete their attempt to reach a first Four Nations Series final Down Under.
After beating Samoa and losing to Australia, England meet the Kiwis at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday needing to win by 10 points to guarantee themselves a trip to Wellington for the decider a week later.
The England players were greeted on their arrival in New Zealand at the start of the week by rain and a temperature drop of around 20 degrees compared to Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they spent the first two weeks of their trip, but former Bradford forward Burgess says he is already feeling comfortable in the new surroundings.
“It’s been good,” said the 22-year-old. “This is a different environment and it’s good being around old friends. Dunedin looks a bit like the north of England, where I’m from, so I’m enjoying it.”
Saturday’s round-robin match would have been a dress rehearsal for the final but for Ryan Hall’s disallowed try in the last minute of England’s heartbreaking 16-12 defeat by the Kangaroos in Melbourne on Sunday, but Burgess insists they have moved on from that disappointment.
“It could just as easily have been awarded a try but that’s the game.You win and lose games on the bounce of a ball and sometimes one decision can win or lose a game. You’ve just got to roll with it. Every team goes through it and we have to move on.”
Burgess was also in the side pipped by New Zealand in last November’s gut-wrenching World Cup semi-final defeat and spoke about the prospect of revenge.
“We have to win the game on Saturday, that is our focus,” he added. “But it won’t change our approach to the game.
“The Kiwis are big and strong and like to offload, so we’ll have to be good on defence. They got one over us in the World Cup semi-final last year and it would be good to get revenge but it’s not the main thing we’re focusing on.”
Burgess will win his eighth cap on Saturday, having appeared in all five matches at the 2013 World Cup and both Four Nations games so far, but twin brother Tom is thought to be an injury doubt after rolling an ankle at training.