This week, speaking with Serious About Rugby League, former St Helens and Huddersfield Giants prop Keith Mason became the latest ex-player to have his say on England’s World Cup which ended prematurely against Samoa in the semi-finals.
“I thought they started off really well but they always seem to fall at the last hurdle. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed watching Samoa and I liked to see Samoa get to their first final. Australia are the benchmark, they’re just too good, no matter what year it is, they have so many players to pick from,” Mason said.
“England played well but peaked early. In big games like the semi-final, I’ve played in semi-finals, you’ve got to grab it with both hands and I felt like they just seemed like they weren’t at the races and that was bad timing.”
When asked how England can compete with Australia, he felt it is the wider sport and the money rugby league needs in this country:
“I think they’re doing the best they can do with what they’ve got. We don’t have the backing in football or in the NRL.
“Whether the sport gets someone in behind the scenes at the RFL, there was talk of Eddie Hern or now IMG which would be great.
“It’s the best game in the world, it tests your fitness, your strength, your mental strength, your ability under pressure, there are times when you’re non-stop playing for 20 minutes which doesn’t happen in most sports.
“I don’t know the scope of the RFL and what they’re thinking, I would do things a bit different.”
He also weighed in on whether Shaun Wane should remain as England boss:
“It seems like they’ve got his respect, he’s English which is good and brings the best out of players having had some success at Wigan.
“I don’t really mind. They have a lot of thinks in place, Paul Sculthorpe has been involved. There’s going to be some good players coming through in the next few years.”