Assistant coach Denis Betts has said that England will use their 2016 Four Nations disappointment as motivation for World Cup success.
Wayne Bennett’s time as head coach had a disappointing start when England failed to reach the Four Nations final despite having the home advantage. However, Betts says that the team’s plan is to peak for the World Cup and that they can use the Four Nations as a positive.
Betts said, “We wanted to win the Four Nations last year, but that experience is the strength of this group now. The World Cup has always been the goal, it’s why the coach is here, to get England into a World Cup final with a possibility of being the team that wins it. What this group have done together has brought us to this place.”
Betts was the last man to lead the team into a World Cup final, which they lost to Australia at Wembley.
Speaking about the experience he said, “My worst day and my best day were both on the same day. I was captain of England in a World Cup final, walking out at Wembley with my family in the stand. I felt we were good enough to win that tournament, but I was disappointed in the team’s overall performance. It was a chance that went missing. We just didn’t perform on the day and that lives with me.”
He said that nobody imagined that the team wouldn’t make another world cup final for twenty-two years and said, “We might only get one chance and this might be it.”
In the same interview he praised Alex Walmsley, the St Helens prop who will make his debut today, “He’s mentally tough. I don’t think it will matter where he was 24 or 48 hours earlier or what he was dying of. He knows what responsibility he has and he’s got some energy about him. He’s excited and it’s nice to see a fellow that big who wants to carry the ball as hard as he does involved in the group.”