Burgess insists England can still win Four Nations despite loss to Kiwis

By: The Guardian

 

samSam Burgess insisted England can still win the Four Nations, a comment echoed by his coach after their loss to New Zealand in their opening game.

The one-point defeat means England will have to beat Scotland and Australia to stand any chance of making the final at Anfield on 20 November; a daunting task given England have not beaten the Kangaroos for more than 20 years.

Burgess remained upbeat following his first game as captain of the national side, one that slipped up despite dominating proceedings for large parts of the contest. Shaun Johnson’s late drop goal helped the Kiwis win 17-16.

“I’m disappointed with the result but I’m so proud of the players,” he said. “There’s no panic. We had a chat together on the field as a group and Wayne said the effort was there. That performance showed enough character and confidence to believe we can achieve something in this competition. We understand the situation we’re in.

“We’ve improved a hell of a lot under Wayne and we’ll recover right, assess where we’re at and hit the ground running to keep improving as a team. As long as we keep doing that, we’ll be all right.”

Bennett also reaffirmed Burgess’s comments about England’s potential to succeed, despite them now facing a difficult challenge to make the final. “We always had to play Australia anyway and play well against them,” Bennett said. “If we maintain this level of effort and commitment we’ll be all right. You can’t win anything without effort.

“It’s a disappointing result but aside from a bit of game smarts everything else was there.”

Burgess did concede that England were architects of their own downfall on a frustrating afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd in Huddersfield. “We gifted them a couple of tries and if you make one or two mistakes at this level, good teams will take advantage,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from them, but we made the game hard for ourselves on occasions. If you watch it back you’ll see some good things too.”

The England coach refused to be drawn on more comments from the Australia coach, Mal Meninga, who accused Bennett of wanting his job upon the Kangaroos’ arrival in the country this month. “I’m not thinking about Australia,” Bennett said. “They can say what they want and do what they want – I’m here with England and I’m enjoying that. Go and ask them about it, not me.”

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