George Williams says trying to rack up a big scoreline will not be in their thoughts when they face Scotland today.
The Warriors stand-off made his England bow in the 2-1 Test series win over new Zealand last season, but has had to wait for his chance to impress new coach Wayne Bennett.
And after watching last weekend’s agonising 17-16 defeat to the Kiwis from the sidelines, Williams has warned of the dangers of chasing points against Scotland to keep alive their hopes of reaching the tournament final. “Scotland will be no pushovers, it will be a tough game,” said the 22-year-old.
“We can’t think about posting points. We have to concentrate on the performance, otherwise we’ll put ourselves in danger.”
Williams and Liam Farrell are looking to give Bennett something to consider when selecting his team to face Australia in London next Sunday.
“The experience from last year will definitely help,” he said.“I’ll have to play well and hopefully I can keep my place for a massive game.”
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Having played alongside Gareth Widdop, who has been dropped for today’s match, in two of England’s Tests last season,
England and Scotland open the double-header at Coventry’s 32,609-capacity Ricoh Arena - home of Wasps RU - before Australia take on New Zealand in a weekend which could either make or break the home nation’s chances of reaching Anfield on November 20.
A New Zealand win would be helpful, meaning if England can beat Scotland, they will face Australia knowing it would be a straight shoot-out for the final.
But if Australia beat the Kiwis, England would need it to be by a landslide as points difference will come into play next weekend if they topple the Kangaroos.
“Wayne Bennett believes in us, we’re all confident we can make a massive impact in this tournament,” he said.
“New Zealand are a great side and last week’s game was a great game, there were things we could have done better but we didn’t play badly at all.”
Today’s game, live on BBC 2, puts Williams on collision course with Wigan team-mate Lewis Tierney, who plays on the wing for Scotland.
He’s one of my best mates and he’s told me he’s going to run straight at me,” he smiled.
“I’ve not played against Lewis since I was 14 so it is going to be strange.
“We were both at St Pat’s and then he went to Orrell St James and I went to Rose Bridge.
“We played against each other in school finals as well, when we were really young. We used to ring each other and talk all kinds of rubbish, winding each other up.”
Tierney says his St John Fisher side always had the better of Williams’ Standish High.
“It used to get pretty feisty,” he said. “We’d ring each other every day before the finals, giving it to each other!”
Scotland coach Steve McCormack, a proud Wiganer, felt they undersold themselves in the 54-12 loss to Australia a week ago.
“I was disappointed, but we showed some signs we can threaten England,” he said. “We should have troubled Australia more.
“They are under massive pressure, they’ve spent a lot of money on their preparation, brought a coach in from the other side of the world - invested a lot of money.
“We’ve got minimal resources but a fantastic bunch of players and staff.”