Carl Ablett believes that the England squad’s regular meetings with France’s players in domestic competition will help their preparations ahead of the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Quarter-Final clash at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Saturday (8.00pm).
The French squad has a strong Catalan Dragons contingent and Ablett says that it will help England know what to expect from their opponents, after coming through a tough final Group A game against Fiji.
“The staff here have done a great job on giving us feedback on whoever we have played,” said Ablett. “But I am sure it will help even more that we play against their players week in, week out.
“We know what they are going to bring. At the end of the day it is a Quarter-Final of a World Cup so they will bring their best performance, but so will we and we will see where it takes us.
“I think we have been improving with each game and if we continue to do that we will be in with a good chance of progressing.
“The win against Fiji I think will stand us in good stead. Sometimes you need those physical tests with good intensity and it can only be good going forward.
“Fiji brought it to us in the first half and it was tough. But fortunately we were good enough in that second half to put a few plays together and a few players came up with some good plays so hopefully come the back end of the tournament it will be good for us.
“We weren’t really concerned about the result. We had some good field position, we needed to change a few things but we weren’t too worried at half time.
“We always knew that we had a lot of talent in our side and we had to be patient and in the end we saw the rewards of that.
“I think there are aspects of the game where you will accept that you weren’t great and there are a few things that we still need to work on and we are not sitting back thinking we have done enough, we are just trying to get better.”
After playing in front of crowds of around 25,000 at The John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, and the KC Stadium, Hull, Ablett is expecting a similar turnout as the teams face off at the DW Stadium, Wigan.
“It will be great,” said Ablett. “The people in Wigan love their Rugby League, just like they do in Hull and Huddersfield. They are passionate and it makes it a great stadium to play in.
“I have played there a few times. Playing there on a Saturday night isn’t something we have been used to, but it will be a great game in a great stadium, and tickets are selling well so there will be a big crowd too.”
“It has been a great tournament. The organisation has been excellent and a few of the teams have performed better than people expected so they have been great to watch.
“It has been great to see people turning up for it and getting behind it and I would say it has already been a success, but hopefully there are still a few good games left to come.”
By Liam Williams