International Origin: Steve McNamara says clash with the Exiles is too close to call

Last Updated: 14/06/13 7:32pm

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Steve McNamara: Preparing his England squad for clash with the Exiles

Steve McNamara: Preparing his England squad for clash with the Exiles

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England coach Steve McNamara is relishing what he believes will be a closely contested international origin clash against the Exiles tonight.

McNamara says he is impressed with the strength of Brian McClennan's overseas selection for the showdown at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The match is England's last competitive outing before their World Cup opener against Australia on 26 October and McNamara is desperate for his side to get a confidence boosting win.

McNamara's charges will have to buck a trend that has seen the Exiles win the inaugural match in 2011 and prevail on aggregate in last year's two-match series.

"The Exiles have a very experienced squad," McNamara said. "They've got a lot of different qualities - a big physical pack that can offload at will if they are allowed to, some outside backs that just finish for fun and they've some pretty good kickers as well.

"It's a good balance. I'm really pleased with the make-up of that team because ultimately that is what the game was designed for, to look at the two teams and not be quite sure which team will win.

"It means we will have to play very well and, if we do that, we get the job done."

"It's important we win. It's not the end of the world if we don't win but we've got a sniff of picking up a trophy.

"We did it last year in the tri-nations and we'd be a calendar year undefeated going into the World Cup which would add belief and confidence to the group."

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