England thriving in knockout conditions

Tom Briscoe
Tom Briscoe

Tom Briscoe believes that the knockout stages of Rugby League World Cup 2013 will bring out the best in England as they prepare for their quarter-final against France at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Saturday (8.00pm).
After qualifying for the last eight with a strong performance in defeat to Australia and two impressive victories over Ireland and Fiji, Briscoe feels that England have improved immensely from the start of their RLWC2013 campaign.
“It is getting to the exciting part of the tournament now with knockout football and I think we thrive off that,” said Briscoe.
“From where we started against Italy in the warm-up match and going into the Australia game we have definitely improved leaps and bounds. On the flip side we know there is still a lot that we can do better and by building steadily we have reaped the benefits of working hard.
“Just being around each other the team has developed a close bond and the best way to unite a team is by winning, which we have managed to do.
“Everybody gets along, there are not any cliques or anything like that, and we all went out for a meal in the week, so we are just enjoying everyone’s company.”
England are expecting a stern test from a French side who will be looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats in their final group games, after beating Papua New Guinea in one of the tournament’s closest matches, and Briscoe is not taking them lightly.
“France showed on Monday night just how tough a team they are,” said Briscoe. “Obviously they have guys who play in Super League week in week out, like Thomas Bosc and we know what players like him can do.
“Their team as a whole is well equipped and they have the able to cause damage all over the pitch, so we are well aware just how hard a match it will be.
“If we can match them up front and in defence, that will go a long way to deciding the outcome. In attack we know that we have to tidy up our shape and not put the ball down as much as we have perhaps done so far.
“Coming into the latter stages of the competition we are not going to get as many chances to score as we have in the past, so every opportunity we have is crucial.
“We need to make sure that we take each game at a time. It would be wrong to look ahead and underestimate the team that you are coming up against that week, otherwise you will get knocked out and any preparation going forward will have been wasted.
“We will prepare like we always do – very thoroughly, and I am sure Steve McNamara has the game plan to help us come out on top. Our focus is solely on France and I think it has got to be that way for every game we play.”