Members of the 14 nations pose for photographers at the Rugby League World Cup Launch at Old Trafford.
Members of the 14 nations pose for photographers at the Rugby League World Cup Launch at Old Trafford. GETTY

Poms aiming to bounce back against old enemy

ENGLAND captain Kevin Sinfield believes his side is still hurting after its surprise 15-14 loss to Italy on Sunday.

The Poms need to improve dramatically because they play World Cup favourite Australia in the tournament opener on Saturday night (kick-off 11.30pm AEST) at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"It hurt and it causes some embarrassment," Sinfield said yesterday at the tournament launch in Manchester.

"Whether we wanted to create a siege mentality, I don't think we did at all, but I think we've probably got one now.

"We can bounce back - I believe we will bounce back.

"We'll do everything possible to fix things up and to get out there and put in a performance that everyone can be proud of."

Australian captain Cameron Smith said he did not place much weight on the upset result as England had made changes to its personnel for the warm-up game.

He did, however, point out that more upsets were likely at the tournament.

"I think the World Cup is very good for rugby league, given you've got some developing nations playing here and who are going to be very competitive," he said.

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens believes reigning champion New Zealand is the team to beat.

"New Zealand, to my way of thinking, are the strongest I've ever seen them," he told Sky Sports. "And England also, with the form of some of the boys who have been playing in the NRL, coming back to play for their nation - that will make England as good as they've ever been."

Ireland captain Liam Finn certainly thinks his team can cause the Kangaroos a few surprises when the sides clash in Limerick on November 10.

"Taking the Australia game to Thomond Park, which is a hotbed of rugby union, is exciting and we just need to get the public there and do ourselves justice," he said.

The World Cup final will be played on the morning of December 1 (AEST) at Old Trafford



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