England’s first game of the 2015 International Series is approaching and coach Steve McNamara has got his squad training harder than ever before as they aim to get off to the best start against France this Saturday (October 24) at Leigh Sports Village (2.00pm).
This will be fans first opportunity to see England in action on home soil since 2013 and McNamara is fully-focused on this fixture and what it means to him and the players.
“I want to make this clear, this is a test match for our team. This is not a trial game, a warm-up or whatever other words people want to use to describe this game,” said McNamara.
“International caps are very hard to come by these days and there is one up for grabs in this game. Players have been training fiercely to get into the team this week to play against France.
“Fans will see our strongest team on the field at Leigh Sports Village, barring any injuries, it’s going to be close to what will be facing the Kiwis. You’ll see the best English players available right from the off.”
The game has a certain significance for McNamara as he was appointed England coach back in April 2010 and his first game in charge of the national side was against France at Leigh Sports Village. The French kicked off their European Championship in winning style after beating Ireland 31-14 last weekend and will be looking to match the home side.
“France already have a game under their belt and they’ve been together for a while now preparing for this game and the Championship,” said McNamara.
“They’ve got quality players in their group and they always raise their game when they play us. It’s going to be a physical encounter and we’ll have to be good this time around.
“Our Academy, Knights and senior squad like playing at Leigh and love the response we get from the locals and surrounding areas.
“I remember when we played Wales at Leigh Sports Village in 2011, it kicked off a really good series for us in terms of the fans and enthusiasm for the England team. The players really appreciate it. We’re really looking forward to getting out there and performing for the supporters on Saturday.”
Tickets for England v France at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday October 24 (2.00pm) cost from as little as £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £22.50 for a family ticket. Please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.
The England vs New Zealand autumn international series kicks off at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday November 1 (5.00pm) before attention turns to the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday November 7 (2.30pm). The series concludes at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 (1.00pm).
Tickets to autumn international series cost from £22 for adults and £10 for concessions per game. A three-match package costing just £45 for adults and £22.50 for concessions is also available. To purchase tickets please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.