Rugby League World Cup: England hope to be boosted by the Wembley factor

Last Updated: 19/11/13 10:00am

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Sean O'Loughlin: Crosses the line to score a try during the win over France

Sean O'Loughlin: Crosses the line to score a try during the win over France

Sky Bet

England loose forward Sean O'Loughlin thinks playing their World Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday will be to their advantage.

O'Loughlin and his team mates face a tall order against holders New Zealand and were not overly impressive in their 34-6 quarter-final victory over France at the weekend.

However, all but six of coach Steve McNamara's 23-man squad have recent experience of playing at Wembley and Wigan captain O'Loughlin thinks that will stand the team in good stead.

"We know we can get a lot better and I think playing at Wembley will get a lot more out of everyone," he said.

"I think the venue itself can get the better of you sometimes but there are a lot of players in the squad who have been there, the Wigan, Warrington and Leeds lads have all played there.

"We know we can get a lot better and I think playing at Wembley will get a lot more out of everyone."
Sean O'Loughlin

"I wouldn't say they're familiar with it but they've been there and I think it could be a bit of an advantage.

"But it's still about what you do on the field."

Kiwis impress

New Zealand have looked in fine form in the World Cup so far and have scored 186 points already.

O'Loughlin added: "They're probably the most impressive team in the tournament.

"If we perform like we did against the French, we will probably get more points put on us than we did on Saturday.

"They have a lot of dangerous players who will cause us a lot of trouble. They've got big physical players, who are handfuls to deal with, and we know we have to be at our best to beat them.

"It was still a convincing win (against France) but it was a bit disappointing performance-wise.

"We will have to raise our performance if we want to get to that final. We scored some nice tries but, on the whole, we gave up too much ball and at times we didn't defend well enough."

One to watch

Asked which of the Kiwi players would need watching in particular, O'Loughlin said: "You could pick one to 13.

"They have big blokes in the middle who carry the ball strong and they have got blokes like Sonny Bill (Williams) in the back row, who are dangerous.

"They can pass and run strongly and they have some quick players like (Kevin) Locke and the half-backs. There is probably not going to be a single player we can pick out."

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