Williams learning from master Bennett
George Williams hopes England get their 2016 account off to a flyer today... but admits he would much rather be playing!
Coach Wayne Bennett has decided to rest most of the Grand Finalists for the Test in France to give other players in the squad - without a game this month - the chance to build some match-fitness ahead of the Four Nations.
Williams, who featured in three Tests last autumn, understands the reasons but says he would much rather be playing in the Avignon fixture (kick-off 6.30pm, UK time).
“Playing for your country is massive, and obviously I want to play any time I can,” he said.
“I know we played last week so I understand why we’re not in.
“Hopefully I get the chance next week.”
England open their Four Nations account against New Zealand in front of a capacity Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield next Saturday.
And their 2-1 Test series triumph against the Kiwis last year - as well as the arrival of Bennett as coach and Sam Burgess’ return to the league fold - has swelled Williams’ confidence they can do well in the competition, which also involves Australia and Scotland.
“Wayne’s record speaks for itself, he has a different way of seeing things and it’s good to learn off someone like him,” he said.
“We took a lot of confidence from last year. The intensity in training has been really good and everyone is trying to prove a point they should be there.
“When we came into camp we had two very tough days, a bleep test and a lot of fitness work.”
New captain Burgess is also missing the France Test as he serves a one-match suspension.
“Sam is a leader, he does the stuff in training and it’s good to be around players of that calibre,” added Williams.
Wigan team-mates John Bateman, Liam Farrell and the departing Dan Sarginson are also in England’s squad.
Farrell was the only one named in the 19-man squad for today’s game, which is being shown on the BBC’s red button.