A REPEATED theme throughout the BBC’s presentation of rugby league’s Autumn International Series has been just how important the games have been to England’s preparation for the 2013 World Cup.
While much of this is sticking to the RFL partyline and also being loyal to the game as a whole, in the end it was stunning that the coverage never wavered and no-one slipped by saying: “This is actually one-sided rubbish, isn’t it!”
England cruised to a 48-4 final win over France at Salford City Stadium after beating the same opponents by a similar margin the week before, which all followed on from an 80-12 crushing of Wales in Wrexham.
The England camp and many of their media followers have insisted that this is the perfect build up to trying to break the Australia-New Zealand stranglehold on the World Cup when they arrive over here this time next year.
While I am a big England fan, to be honest all I learned was that Steve McNamara’s side know where the tryline is and, if they don’t over-complicate things, they can cross it at will against opponents like France and Wales.
A match-up that would be far more value would be for England to take on NRL champions Melbourne Storm when they are over next February to play Super League winners Leeds Rhinos in the World Club Challenge.
It would be a great idea, but it is a thoroughly unrealistic notion on my part – why would an Aussie club agree to give a helping hand in playing a game that would be designed to help England undo their own national side’s hopes later in the year.