Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell and club captain Michael Shenton believe England have what it takes to defeat New Zealand in this tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Tigers centre Shenton said: “I know they haven’t had the strongest opposition against them, but the Kiwis pack looks massive and their halves are sharp,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to the semi and it should be a good game. We’ll see how the boys match up to the physicality, but I think they can and they’ve got a really good chance.”
Head coach Powell, who was formerly part of the England set-up as assistant coach to Steve McNamara, added: “New Zealand are an outstanding team, but I do think we’ve got the team to do it if everyone is on top of their game.
“The Kiwis are excellent so if they can knock them off they can go into the final feeling confident about themselves.
“It’s been a great tournament and all we need now for international rugby league is for England to be in the final. I’m hoping that’s going to be the case.
“It’s going to take a massive performance, but they are capable of doing it. There’s a lot of quality players in the squad and there’s no reason why they can’t.
“England have been a bit up and down. It was a poor performance getting beat by Italy in the warm-up and what some of the players did after that was absolutely incredible.
“They had a good opportunity against Australia which they didn’t take. Then they have had a couple of reasonable performances, but they are going to need to go to a different level, which is pretty obvious, this weekend.
“I think the World Cup’s been great as a tournament. It’s been well supported and from a rugby league perspective the game’s grown. It will be massive if England can do the job this weekend and progress.”