South Africa trip boosts England

PA Sport
Steve McNamara was happy with England's training camp in South Africa
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Steve McNamara was happy with England's training camp in South Africa

National coach Steve McNamara has hailed England's 10-day training camp in South Africa a resounding success.

McNamara used the ground-breaking trip to step up preparations for the autumn international series in which they open up against Wales in Wrexham on Saturday but also as a "dummy run" for the 2013 World Cup which starts in just 12 months' time.

"The camp has had huge benefit for us," said McNamara about the camp in Potchefstroom. "It was good to get the full squad away and experience something different."

He added: "The facilities in Potchefstroom were world class and the players have benefited from some cutting-edge training that is new to rugby league.

"Training at our optimum levels in a high-altitude environment is very tough and the players have found it difficult but rewarding at the same time.

"We believe exposing the players to a new environment will give us a performance edge.

"This year is about fine-tuning our preparation ahead of the Rugby League World Cup in 12 months' time and we are on track.

"I expect the players to continue to set the high standards we strive for at international level in our final week of preparation before going into a Test match against Wales on Saturday."

McNamara returned in time to act as a BBC summariser for the opening international between France and Wales in Lens, which the home side won 20-6 but not before being given a physical test by Iestyn Harris' men.

"Even though they lost to France, Wales were very physical in defence and we expect something similar when they face us," McNamara said. "Our objective is quite simple. We need to concentrate on our own game and make sure the things we worked on in South Africa come to fruition on the pitch."

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