“It was pretty embarrassing” – England’s John Bateman gunning for revenge against PNG

John Bateman Credit: Alamy
John Bateman Credit: Alamy

England’s John Bateman will use the memory of Great Britain’s shock defeat to Papua New Guinea in 2019 as motivation for this weekend’s quarter-final tie in the World Cup. 

Bateman was a part of the Great Britain squad that toured in 2019, failing to pick up a single victory under then-coach Wayne Bennett.

Great Britain fell to defeats to Tonga Invitational and New Zealand before their surprising 28-10 loss against the Kumuls in Port Moresby.

Bateman will have the chance for redemption this Saturday as England face Papua New Guinea in the second quarter-final of the weekend in Wigan.

John Bateman: It was pretty embarrassing

“It was pretty embarrassing,” Bateman said on Great Britain’s defeat to PNG. “The tournament as a whole was pretty embarrassing but especially that defeat.

“We’d not lost to them in so many years and they handed it to us. A few of the boys who played in that game are really looking forward to this weekend.”

The back-rower was a part of the England team that beat the same opposition at the 2017 tournament 36-6 in Melbourne. And England head coach Shaun Wane is fully aware of the challenge ahead against some of the game’s biggest stars.

“This is going to be full on,” Wane said. “I thought the Samoa game would have been full on but it wasn’t to be – they’ve improved massively since then.

“This will be a tough challenge, it’s do or die, and they’re really good. I’ve been really impressed with them.

“They’re a very good team. They run hard, like they have for years. They’re a tough nation and they defend like their lives depend on it. I’ve got a lot of respect for them. It’s a unique challenge.

“It’s knockout rugby, so someone is going to be disappointed but it can’t be us. We need to be very good but they need to be too.”

Wane announced his 19-man squad on Thursday afternoon, with record try-scorer Ryan Hall left out. The 34-year-old has scored 39 tries in his 40 appearances for England. Andy Ackers, Joe Batchelor, Mikolaj Oledzki and Luke Thompson also miss out. 

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