HUDDERSFIELD’S two rugby union clubs are united in their backing for England this Saturday.
Members at Lockwood Park and the YMCA will be roaring on Brian Ashton’s side in the World Cup semi-final crunch against host nation France.
Huddersfield’s back-row forward and former general manager Hamish Pratt, now a rugby development officer with the RFU, is confident England will beat France and reach the final against either Argentina or South Africa.
“England definitely have the momentum now and, equally important, no injuries,” said Pratt, a Kiwi who was gutted by his own nation’s quarter-final defeat.
“The England side have come through a very tough game, and everyone is now set.
“They now have self-belief which wasn’t there earlier in the tournament.
“It is obvious they are now enjoying their rugby.
“I think all the pressure is now on the French, particularly with them being the host nation, just as it was in their opening match against Argentina.
“Its great for English rugby, and I reckon it will be an England v South Africa final.”
YMCA head coach Carl Thewlis also feels England have a great chance of reaching the final for the second successive tournament – providing they stick to their gameplan and continue to believe in themselves.
“England must now have the confidence and belief that they have the best pack in the world after that performance against Australia in the quarter-finals,” added Thewlis.
“And if they can again take play to the French up front it will put pressure on the home side – and we all know the French are notorious for folding under pressure.
“If, however, our forwards try to play too expansive a game, then it will put pressure on our own backs, and then we may have problems.”