HOOKER James Roby will draw on past World Cup experience as England prepare for an invasion of Tonga fans at Saturday's semi-final.

It is estimated that New Zealand contains 60,000 people of Tongan descent and they are expected to attend in their numbers at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium in the hope of cheering their team to another shock victory.

The Tongans have been in party mood since the group win over New Zealand which proved so catastrophic for the hosts and, if the raucous atmosphere at a fans event in the city provided the England players with a taste of what to expect, they will be heading for a cauldron on Saturday.

St Helens Star:

Tonga's following, a sea of red, has been impressive during the tournament. Picture: NRLPhotos

With the Kiwis likely to cheer on the Pacific Islanders, Roby is expecting England to face the sort of hostile reception they received in Townsville for the opening game of the 2008 World Cup when the locals got behind Papua New Guinea.

"There will be a lot of Tongans here and with the Kiwis getting knocked out they might be on the Tongan side rather than ours," Roby said.

"We know what we will be up against. I remember how hostile it was when we played PNG in Townsville. It was our first game and all the Aussies were on our back. When we were warming up, they were shouting stuff and trying to sledge us.

"They hated us from minute one. They weren't even from PNG. It comes with the territory, coming here to play in the World Cup."

Roby is part of an unchanged squad as England aim to reach their first World Cup final since 1995, although stand-off Kevin Brown will need to pass a head test after being concussed in the 36-6 quarter-final win over Papua New Guinea.

The St Helens hooker is not surprised Tonga, with the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita in their ranks, are in the last four but he is confident England will be good enough to halt their winning run.

"They have been fantastic," he said. "They are a big, physical team but we like to think our pack is just as big and can match them physically.

"I'm confident if we play like we can, we will find ourselves in the final."

Meanwhile, Roby insists he has no regrets over rejecting the chance to move to the NRL.

Seven members of Wayne Bennett's 24-man squad ply their trade in the NRL where the salary cap is set to rise to rise to £5.4million next year, compared to £1.9m in Super League, and that means the trend is set to continue.

"I suppose from a player's point of view you have got to take that into consideration," Roby said. "We have all got families and futures to plan for.

"I have had a couple of chances and for various reasons I have never come across. I do not regret it. The closest I came was a good few years ago, I nearly came to Parramatta. I stayed true to my roots at St Helens.

"I suppose if players are catching the eye of the NRL clubs they are playing well for their country and that is what everybody wants back home - a good representation of themselves and our country."