Rugby League World Cup: England forward Sean O'Loughlin in positive mood
Sean O'Loughlin feels that both he and England have benefited from a tough test against Fiji in the World Cup.
Last Updated: 11/11/13 5:39pm
Steve McNamara's side will face either France or Samoa in the quarter-finals of the competition at the DW Stadium on Saturday but they were made to work hard this weekend.
England trailed Fiji 6-0 and were level at the break before cutting loose in the second half to run out 34-12 winners.
Warriors forward O'Loughlin is winning his fitness battle after an Achilles injury plagued him for much of the season.
He missed much of the Super League campaign and was forced to sit out England's 28-20 defeat to Australia in their Opening World Cup fixture at the Millennium Stadium on 26 October.
But O'Loughlin was able to return for the wins over Ireland and Fiji to leave him in positive mood going into the knockout stages of the competition.
"I'm still probably chasing a little bit of match fitness but I felt better in that game (on Saturday) than I did in the Ireland game," he said.
Physicality and intensity
"That was probably a bit more physical and intense than the Ireland game and hopefully that will serve me well going into next weekend if I'm involved.
"There were groans and moans at us coming in at half-time level but we expected a tough battle. We were confident we could get the win but we knew it wasn't going to come early.
"I think we're in good shape and there's a lot of competition for spots still.
"There is a lot of pressure on us to play well and that's a good position to be in. Steve Mac has got a few tough decisions to make."
O'Loughlin could be one of five current Wigan players to play at the DW Stadium, while Auckland-bound Sam Tomkins will get the opportunity to turn out once more before he moves to the NRL.
"It will be Sam's last game and I'm guessing he's happy to get another shot at playing there," added O'Loughlin.
"It's a great stadium to play at whether you are a Wigan player or not."