O’Loughlin disappointed with England’s finish

Chris Hill in action for England. Picture: NRL Photos
Chris Hill in action for England. Picture: NRL Photos

England captain Sean O’Loughlin admitted his disappointment over his team’s second-half performance in the 29-10 victory against Lebanon.

They exchanged a try apiece during a patchy second-half.

England have the seemingly straight-forward task of beating France in Perth this weekend to secure a quarter-final spot - probably against Papua New Guinea.

O’Loughlin admits they have a lot to improve on.

He said: “We came in pretty pleased at half-time but we didn’t finish the game off the way we wanted to.

“We’re a little bit disappointed but it’s a win and we’re off and running.

“I thought Lebanon asked a lot of questions of us, which was good for us to get that hit-out with our defence. They chucked a lot at us. They were impressive.”

England scored first-half tries through Kallum Watkins, McGillvary, Ryan Hall and Ben Currie to establish a comfortable 22-6 lead but failed to press home their advantage after the break, Tom Burgess scoring their only other try.

“I’m pleased it’s over,” Bennett said. “It had its moments, there was both good and bad.

“The first half was pretty good. I was really pleased with our ball control and the way we gave ourselves opportunities and I thought we defended pretty good.

“But I thought we lost our way in the second half with the football particularly. Defensively again we stood up but we’ve got to be better than that.”

Bennett made a couple of changes to the team he announced earlier in the week, opting to give full-back Stefan Ratchford and stand-off George Williams their first run-outs of the tournament.

Ratchford came in for an injured Jonny Lomax while hooker James Roby made way for the introduction of Williams.

“Jonny Lomax hurt his calf muscle at training early in the week,” Bennett explained. “He’ll probably miss next week’s game (against France) but he should be back after that.

“I left James out because I wanted to give George Williams a game. I’ve got 24 players here and I’m trying to get them all a game before the quarter-finals if I can.”

Bennett described the performance of stand-off Gareth Widdop as “good, bad and ugly” but praised the contribution of debutant Alex Walmsley and fellow front rower Burgess from the bench. “I like what Alex brought tonight,” he said. “I thought him and Tom when they came on were very good.”