The Liam Farrell column: What I expect from England’s Test against the Kiwis

Stefan Ratchford in training for England
Stefan Ratchford in training for England
Share this article

I’m looking forward to seeing how England perform against New Zealand on Saturday night.

I hope playing the game in Denver is a big success.

It certainly has the makings of a cracking game.

This will be Michael Maguire’s first match in charge of the Kiwis. I owe Madge a lot, because he was the coach who gave me my chance, but that aside I really do think he’ll help improve them. He leaves no stone unturned in his preparation and when you look at the way he transformed Wigan and then Souths, I imagine he will have a similar impact now.

It’ll be interesting to see how England line up.

Wayne Bennett has named his 17 players but not the team. With George Williams out, it looks like James Roby may be asked to do the full 80 minutes.

That would be a big ask for any hooker in any game – let alone a Test match, played at high-altitude, with a lot of traffic sent his way.

But Roby is one player who could handle that. We all know what a great engine he has, which is not just down to his fitness, but also how smart he is – he conserves energy during a match by being efficient.

I’ll be watching keenly on Saturday night. I wish the lads all the best.

We travel to Castleford tomorrow night for a catch-up game, after the fixture earlier this season was called off.

I’m in the 19-man squad – we’ll make a call after team run whether I play. If I don’t, it’ll be next week against Leeds.

Either way, one back-rower who should be facing the Tigers will be Liam Paisley.

He’s been biding his time and applying himself in training and the dual-reg matches he has played.

He’s a big lad, he’s pretty physical and he has the ability to cause some trouble.

It’s obviously a pretty tough place to be making your debut – but Cas away is tough for everyone.

Throw in the fact we’re missing our England players, we know we’ll need to turn up to get the result. But we saw last week against Hull we had that extra energy on the past few weeks and hopefully we can keep that going.

I also though the lads attacked well from the start. We’ve realised that, during the three games we lost, our attack was a little one-out. We tried to rectify that against Hull and moved the ball around more, and with that, we had the composure to secure the win at the end.

Sean O’Loughlin tends not to do 80 minutes these days, but he pulled one out the bag and he was my man of the match.

Finally, good luck to England and Denmark in the World Cup.

England, for obvious reasons. I watched their 2-1 win against Tunisia last Monday night and was really encouraged by their performance.

But if they don’t go all the way, hopefully Denmark will... because that’s the team I pulled in the team sweep stake!

I’m not too hopeful that will come in.

John Bateman organised the sweep, and got one of the favourites... I’ll just leave it at that.