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McNamara walks out of today's England press conference on eve of World Cup
2:15pm Friday 25th October 2013 in Latest News
ENGLAND boss Steve McNamara insists there has been no panic in the camp ahead of the World Cup opener against Australia.
But it has certainly been testing.
The shock defeat to Italy in the only warm-up game was followed by the dismissal from the squad of Gareth Hock in midweek following claims of 'serious breach of team discipline', and there has been fallout since with that player claiming he was not the only one who broke team rules raleting to the drinking of alcohol.
Today, after the captain's run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where England will tomorrow face the Kangaroos as part of a thrilling double-header which follows the opening ceremony and precedes Wales v Italy, McNamara walked out of the press conference after being pushed on the issues surrounding Hock's departure and the non-selection in his 19-man squad of former St Helens prop James Graham.
McNamara was not willing to discuss those issues but says he is confident England are ready to take on the tournament favourites in tomorrow's showcase event.
“We are looking forward to Saturday, certainly we are very determined,” said McNamara.
“The World Cup has been a long time coming around but we are prepared now, despite a little blip at the weekend which has probably made us a little more focused.
“Coming back from South Africa (training camp), we were disappointed with our performance against Italy and the players have seen the reaction to it. It has really focused us on that first game at the Millennium Stadium against Australia. If it was not real beforehand, then it is definitely real now.
“We have had a plan for a long period of time, we just did not execute that plan to our best last week against Italy.
“There is no panic. We never get overexcited when things go well and we never get too down when they don’t. We know what we need to fix ahead of Saturday.”
McNamara and his squad have trained hard and prepared well this week since the squad assembled at their base at Loughborough University on Monday.
McNamara believes that the Loughborough camp’s ability to make his players feel at home will help with their performances ahead of what will be a day to remember featuring a dazzling opening ceremony and the kick-off of the world’s biggest sporting event since last year’s London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Loughborough has been our home for two or three years now and it feels like home when we come,” he said. “It feels like it is ours and certainly, it has given us a lot of identity.
“We like it when we come here, it is England’s training venue, and it helps for the overall feel within the group.
“The players will generally get a couple of nights per week at home during the tournament as well, which is a bit of a luxury and that is a benefit of being based in England. Hopefully we will use that to our advantage.
“The Millennium Stadium is a great arena and the players love to play against the best players in the world. You want to challenge yourself and you want to challenge yourself against the best players in world-class arenas, and we have got all of those ingredients this week.
“I hope we can get the nation behind us – it was 1972 since we last won the World Cup. For a couple of generations we have not seen success. I think for us as a sport it will do us a power of good and I think it is about time we won it.”
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