Best possible shape: England rugby league coach Steve McNamara insists side ready for World Cup

By Paul Smith

Steve McNamara believes England’s rugby league side are in the best shape possible as they bid for World Cup glory on home soil later this year.

The host nation’s head coach is convinced his men are ready to battle the current top-ranked nation Australia and reigning world champions New Zealand when the competition kicks off in October, culminating in the final at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.

The 41-year-old took charge of England in 2010, and has been building towards the World Cup ever since and is predicting an exciting competition, but one that he believes can be hugely successful for the hosts.

“Since the last World Cup we have made a fair amount of changes,” he said.

“There have been a lot of changes to our programme that has enabled our squad to get together a lot more throughout the year.

“We couldn’t play Australia or New Zealand last year so we used that year to prepare – we went to a high-altitude training camp in South Africa, we played a tournament at home, we trialled all our training venues and travel arrangements.

“We have got everything exactly where we want it so this year isn’t a surprise – everything is ready to go and we couldn’t be in better shape.

“All of the world’s best rugby league players will be in this tournament. 

“There are going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way but the top three in the rankings are Australia, New Zealand and ourselves. We have home soil advantage and we aim to make the most of that.”

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