When we think of Lee Radford, these days we tend to think of Castleford Tigers but in the winter he was working to mastermind England’s downfall in the Rugby League World Cup as Samoa reached the final as he acted as assistant coach.
However, speaking as someone who helped dismantle England’s hopes, Radford suggested that there wasn’t much wrong with what England did hinting that it has perhaps been a bit of an overreaction:
“Andy Last is in the same office as me and we travel down together, we speak about it a lot. England got beat by an incredible team, in an incredible game in an incredible situation.
“They didn’t get an awful lot wrong, they just didn’t take their opportunities. Not much went wrong for them, they were just against a very good team.”
Despite being English, there were no mixed emotions from Radford:
“Honestly the competitiveness in me far overweighed the sentiment in me to English rugby league, I was ecstatic as anyone especially after the first game and the stick I got.
“There were some things on social media, when that happens and you turn it on your hand, you have a bit of a smile.”
Now though it is all about focusing on Castleford as pre-season draws closer to the season itself:
“I think we had a decent year last year without being special. We could have had a bigger impact on the competition but injuries in the spine didn’t help us.
“Success for us relies on keeping the nucleus of the side fit.
“I think there has been a steady progression. I think one advantage this time around, it wasn’t wholesale changes.
“The standard is getting better, this time round we’ve doing 13 on 13 more often.
“I say we were underdone last season, what I mean by that is the likes of Jordan Turner had hardly any pre-season, Paul McShane missed three quarters of pre-season, as did Adam Milner.
“We were physically underdone in terms of reps on the training field because they were returning to the field.
“Fortunately there is only Callum McLelland in that position at the moment.”