This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
ENGLAND’S players are confident they can adjust to the effects of playing at altitude before running out at Denver’s Mile High Stadium tomorrow.
The bulk of Wayne Bennett’s squad have spent the last four days in Colorado and have had two training sessions so far in the build-up to the mid-season Test against New Zealand.
Prop Tom Burgess said: “A few of the boys have been saying they have felt the altitude a little bit.
“It didn’t feel too bad at training, probably just the cobwebs from the flight and the game the previous week. I’m sure it will do us the world of good.”
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire says he has noticed his players finding more distance with their goalkicks and England kicker Gareth Widdop admits the high altitude could be a factor in the game.
“I had a little kick and it certainly does seem to travel a lot further than usual,” he said. “It is probably something we’ll have to watch throughout the game.”
Widdop was at full-back in England’s last match, the World Cup final which they lost 6-0 to Australia in Brisbane in December, but will move into the halves tomorrow alongside Jonny Lomax in the absence of injured duo Luke Gale and George Williams.
Lomax, too, played at full-back in the World Cup but has been playing in the halves for St Helens this year because of the presence of Ben Barba, while the Halifax-born Widdop plays stand-off for St George Illawarra.
“I suppose any combination takes a little getting used to,” Widdop said. “We’ve played together in the past, not as halves, but he’s been playing really well for St Helens.
“We’ll do as much work as we can and hopefully it clicks at the weekend.”
The reshuffle will mean Stefan Ratchford winning his fifth cap for England at full-back, the position in which he has excelled for Warrington this season.
Ratchford played in the World Cup group games against Lebanon and France and, after missing out on the final, is delighted to be back in the fold.
“Obviously it was disappointing to miss out on the World Cup final but there were a few that had to miss out,” he said.
“To be back in the squad at the first opportunity is a massive honour and I’d be happy to play anywhere to get in the 17, whether that’s starting full-back or another position or whether it’s coming off the bench.
“There’s lots of quality options available at full-back. I played there mid-season, Jonny started the World Cup campaign there and Gareth finished it there.
“I think there’s a lot of quality in the 19-man squad and also a lot of quality that’s missed out.”
Meanwhile, the England players gained an insight into baseball after being invited to take part in batting practice ahead of the match between the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets in Denver.
“It was good fun,” said Sam Burgess. “The Colorado coach was very relaxed and let us into practice to hit a few balls. I struck the ball pretty good.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.