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Danny McGuire and Jon Wilkin reveal “the one big mistake” that cost England their best chance at the World Cup

England have come up short in a number of World Cups for a number of different reasons.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the 2008 World Cup when the Super League had two of the best teams on the planet and perhaps the two greatest teams of the Super League era in the shape of Leeds Rhinos and St Helens.

Speaking on the Bench podcast with Jon Wilkin and Jenna Brooks, Danny McGuire and Wilkin revealed what went wrong for England that year despite the number of great players the two teams had in the squad between them.

“It was a tough tour, it was a really tough tour. I just think the competition and the rivalry that we’d built up between the clubs probably superseded playing for your country. And that’s really hard to say because playing for your country is the ultimate. To play in a World Cup and represent your country is the biggest accomplishment,” McGuire said

“We all got on, there wasn’t fighting in the team room. We did our jobs but teams need more than just good players, you need a culture, people that care and want to play for the people at the side of you. We probably just lacked a little bit of that, we had a good team and good players.”

Wilkin then went onto identify the mistake that defined them: “One big mistake looking back is that they let us pick our roommates and I think that was crazy. I naturally paired off with one of the Saints lads and then the Leeds lads paired off. I think there was like eight and eight of us and that made it quite tricky.”

McGuire then revealed they had no team social: “What we didn’t do was that we didn’t have a social when we got there. I’m not saying that this is the way to go but when you have a beer together and relax and get to know each other outside of a training environment, that brings you closer together as a team. I’m not having a go at the coach or coaching staff but that’d have been a great way to break down a few of them barriers that we’d created with the rivalry.”

Wilkin went on to say: “Our teams were quite different, we at that stage had a lot of star players but we were quite maverick, reckless, arrogant and belligerent. We looked at Leeds as being really serious and culturally it felt like we were coming at it from different angles.”

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