England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster wants the country to get behind England’s Rugby League team ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013 as he believes that Steve McNamara’s side has the potential to win the tournament.
Lancaster, who spoke at length about England’s chances at RLWC2013 in an interview on BBC Radio 5 last night (Tuesday October 8), feels that not only do England have a very good chance of winning the trophy, but that his own union players could learn a lot from their Rugby League equivalents.
After the England rugby union side’s tour of Argentina, he even went to Australia in August, to look at and learn from the best Rugby League sides the country has to offer.
This included spells watching Melbourne Storm and the Sydney clubs, Roosters and Rabbitohs, the latter of which England World Cup squad brothers, Luke, George and Sam Burgess play for.
“When I look at the quality of English players that we have got in Rugby League now, I think we have got a real chance at this World Cup and we need to get behind them,” said Lancaster on Mark Pougatch’s 5 live show.
“I think we have got a huge amount to learn from League, particularly in terms of attack, in organisations and core skills.
“Rugby League concentrates on the basics better than us. Look at some of the tries that were scored in the Grand Final at the weekend.
“It’s about great defence, great tackling technique, great attack, good catching, good handling, good passing and great kicking.
“We have had Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock come and speak to our players, so we, 100 per cent, are behind the Rugby League lads and their World Cup.”
Having been involved in the game with Leeds Rhinos in the past, Lancaster is a fan of Rugby League and thinks that the nation should get behind their side when Rugby League World Cup 2013 gets underway on Saturday October 26 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (2.30pm).
“I’ve been hugely influenced by Rugby League and I am a massive Rugby League fan,” he said.
“Obviously I have come out of an environment where I spent half my time working with Leeds Rhinos and half Leeds Carnegie.
“There is a healthy respect, I would like to think [between Rugby League and union], and certainly from my point of view, as an Englishman, I think we need to get behind the Rugby League team because we have got a real chance of winning it.”
You can listen to Stuart Lancaster talking to Mark Pougatch on BBC Radio 5 live by clicking on the link and skipping ahead to 49mins 42seconds. www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03c2tdv/5_live_Sport_5_live_Rugby_Stuart_Lancaster/
In partnership with Salford-based social landlord City West Housing Trust, children aged 16 and under accompanied by an adult can attend England v Italy (4.30pm) and England Knights v Samoa (2.00pm) for free on Saturday 19 October at Salford City Stadium. Adult tickets cost £15 and £5 for concessions. To take advantage of the kids go free offer and to purchase tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk for further information.
Tickets for the opening ceremony of RLWC2013 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, featuring England v Australia (2.30pm) and Wales v Italy (4.30pm) cost from just £20 for adults and £10 for concessions. To purchase please visit www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013