Gregory - England can pack a punch

Former Wigan ace Andy Gregory
Former Wigan ace Andy Gregory

ANDY Gregory reckons England can boast a pack which ranks as good as any other nation in the World Cup.

But the former Wigan and Test halfback has doubts about their ability to win the tournament because of a weakness in the control room of the team.

Gregory – one of the finest players of his generation – hopes captain Kevin Sinfield and Kiwi-born Rangi Chase prove him wrong and help steer Steve McNamara’s men to an opening day victory against Australia in Cardiff on October 26.

He said: “I think we’ve got a pack to beat anyone. Many of those players have done it in the NRL, and with Sean O’Loughlin in there too, I would go as far as say our pack is the best in the World Cup.

“But I’m just not sure England have the halfbacks who can win us the competition.

“I’m not trying to be controversial, I’m just being honest, and I hope more than anyone that I’m wrong.”

Gregory also spots a weakness in the centres, though he rates the lethal back-three of Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley and Ryan Hall extremely highly.

Coach McNamara has already hinted he will play Sinfield in the halfbacks, possibly at the expense of Melbourne’s play-maker Gareth Widdop.

Sinfield is likely to partner Kiwi-born Rangi Chase halfback, who has been preferred ahead of English Man of Steel Danny Brough.

“Rangi is a good player, but he’s not English, and if he was that good why isn’t he in the New Zealand squad?” he asks.

“This residency rule, of playing in a country for three years... if I kept a dog in a stable for three years, should I call it a horse?”