Betts: Players might need to play out of position

England assistant coach Denis Betts says their 24-man squad for the World Cup is overloaded with forwards in order to challenge Australia physically.

Wayne Bennett named only 10 backs in his squad but Betts has pointed to the utility value of many players to fill in elsewhere if needed.

“What we have got are some very good rugby players,” he told PA Sport. “You’d like to think we can pick a team and keep the combinations and everybody has to fight to get into that team.

“But there’s going to be players that might have to play out of position and be the best player they can be.”

Betts also admitted that Zak Hardaker and Stevie Ward would have been in the squad but for suspension and injury.

Despite this, England are still expected to go far in the tournament as they aim to reach a World Cup final for the first time since 1995.

“We want to hit the ground running,” said Betts. “There’s no easing yourself into it. We’ve got three games before the quarter-final and we want to win all three and take that confidence into the quarter-final.”