Senior players speak about golden opportunity lost in first clash against Australia.
Sam Tomkins has insisted England must make life easy for themselves if they are to bounce back from their opening World Cup defeat by Australia against Ireland at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Tomkins admitted England were their own worst enemy as they let slip a 10-0 lead against the Kangaroos in their first fixture of the tournament to lose 28-20 in Cardiff last weekend, with unforced errors and penalties allowing Australia back into the match.
England’s defeat was compounded when Sam Burgess, who plays for South Sydney in the NRL, was found guilty of a high tackle on Sam Thaiday and banned from the Ireland math.
Ireland also lost their World Cup opener, going down 32-14 to Fiji in Rochdale, and Tomkins is desperate to get England’s World Cup campaign up and running.
“Our preparations for the game on Saturday are coming on well, especially off the back of a good performance against Australia,” said Tomkins, who will play for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL next season.
“We have reviewed the game and seen where we came up short so we will put that right and I think we will be in really good shape for this weekend.
“We gave Australia too much of the ball so we need to keep hold of it a bit better against Ireland but our completion rate was really good when we did have it.
“We probably let them off the hook a bit with a couple of penalties so our discipline will also be something we are looking to improve this week,” added Tomkins, whose brother, Joel, will make his England rugby union debut against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
“We all watched the Ireland-Fiji game and I was impressed by the turnout and I will have never played at Huddersfield when there has been such a big crowd.”
Fiji, like England did against Australia, raced into a 10-0 lead but, unlike them, they didn’t surrender it with Akuila Uate the star of the show with a hat-trick.
Defeat for either team will severely hamper their World Cup hopes but Ireland captain Liam Finn believes his side have been handed a small boost by Burgess’s absence.
“They have got talent across the board. England’s first 17 now available is up there with the best in the world,” said Finn, who started the clash with Fiji and plays for Featherstone in England’s second-tier Championship.
“Obviously the game over here (England) hasn’t got the depth to put out three or four top sides like they do in Australia. But the one they have, and the forward pack, is up there with the best.
“A lot of the forward pack play in the NRL and the rest are really top-end players in Super League with some of them moving to the NRL, so they (England) are definitely going to take some stopping down the middle.
“The obvious one is Sam Burgess — he is one of the top players in the NRL and that makes him one of the best in the world. But there are six of them (England forwards) so we are going to have our work cut out.”