Roby respects PNG
England hooker James Roby will not be underestimating the threat posed by Papua New Guinea at Eden Park.
Last Updated: 03/11/10 9:31am
England hooker James Roby will not be underestimating the threat posed by Papua New Guinea in Saturday's clash at Eden Park.
The two sides meet in Auckland with just pride at stake, after both suffered Four Nations defeats by New Zealand and Australia.
England will go into the game as favourites against the largely part-time Islanders, but after being part of the side that struggled to overcome PNG 32-22 in the opening match of the 2008 World Cup, Roby is not expecting an easy ride on Saturday.
"They definitely give it a go and they wear the shirt with pride," said Roby, who attended a fans day at Eden Park on Tuesday with the rest of the Four Nations squads.
"I didn't realise until today standing next to them how small some of them are. They haven't got many big guys but they can still knock people about.
"They might not be the best structured side in the world but they still go in very hard.
"They have got massive shoulders on them. They are solid. I played against them in the World Cup and it's like running into a brick wall."
Even at the age of just 24, Roby admits he will be under pressure to provide a lead to a youthful England side.
In Steve McNamara's injury-hit 24-man squad, only his St Helens team-mate James Graham and fellow forwards Stuart Fielden and Gareth Ellis have more caps.
But the hooker accepts his role within the squad and hopes that his team-mates can learn lessons from the tour Down Under.
"I still consider myself to be pretty young but, in terms of some of the lads, I am one of the senior players," said Roby, who despite England's Four Nations flop, believes they have the nucleus of a competitive team for the 2013 World Cup.
"I can imagine the core of this squad will be used for the World Cup and many years to come. There will be a few ins and out but the majority will stay the same.
"That will work towards our advantage. For a lot of lads, it's been their first tour. I remember my first tour in 2006 and it's just different. You need to get used to the tour environment and see how everything works."