Ellery Hanley became only the third coach to come up against Shaun Wane’s England side as England prepare for this year’s World Cup.
Hanley led the Combined Nations All Stars side against England yesterday as they lost 18-4 unable to replicate the success they had against England in the same fixture last year.
It demonstrates a growth in the project led by Wane as a year ago England looked very clunky against the All Stars but yesterday produced a professional performance to dominate the ruck and subsequently ease to victory.
It was England’s best performance under Wane and shows that they’re headed in the right direction with the World Cup on the horizon.
But the person best placed to tell us how close England are to challenging for the trophy is Hanley as the last coach to take them on and after the game he gave his verdict on England’s chances.
“The bonus they have is the fact they have numerous players to come into your side that are NRL players,” Hanley said of England.
He continued: “There are still some areas where they need to improve. I think it will be a wonderful World Cup.
“The obvious big three are going to be Australia, New Zealand and England competing for the World Cup. I think a couple of sides will give them a run for their money and there may be a couple of shocks.”
So, Hanley sees England as one of three teams who will compete for the trophy alongside usual suspects Australia and New Zealand. However, he still thinks England need to improve in some areas but that the arrival of NRL players can help that.