McNamara satisfied with result

England coach pleased with result if not quality of England play

Last updated: 17th June 2012  

McNamara satisfied with result

Steve McNamara: Right result for England

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Coach Steve McNamara was happy to see his England side come through a rain-sodden and often low-quality encounter against the Exiles with an 18-10 win.

The now-annual mid-season fixture against a team made up of the best overseas players in Super League has been one of the ideas implemented by McNamara since taking office two years ago.

With genuine high-class opposition not available for a summer Test, the Exiles have been formed to bridge that gap but were party crashers a year ago when they won the inaugural fixture at Headingley.

The honours landed on England's side of the court tonight though, with early tries from Gareth Hock and Danny Tickle - both making their first appearances in two years - setting them on their way.

The Exiles responded through Francis Meli and Darryl Millard, but with Sam Tomkins scoring in-between, a second Exiles win was never an option.

And despite a number of errors from both sides meaning that entertainment was not high on the agenda, McNamara was happy to see his charges take the lead in what is now a two-game series.

Conditions

"It was a very tough game in difficult conditions," he said. "We got the points we scored, which was pleasing. We did get loose in the first half, but in the second we had to show grit, determination and steel.

"I am pleased to get the win this time around. A win was important. We all understand that this concept is in the embryo phase, but it's important to win."

The weather ruined any hopes of a free-flowing encounter and those among the crowd of 11,083 seemed to drift off in the second half, opting to sing songs about their respective clubs, while some chose to boo Hock - back in an England shirt after a drugs ban.

McNamara was only concerned with the win though, adding: "We don't play too many international games. To play a tough team is good; to win is even better.

"We kicked well and picked up some scrappy tries. That was the only way you could score tonight."

The Exiles, whose best player last year, Rangi Chase, was wearing an England shirt tonight, were never really able to display the flair they were hoping for.

With a pack made up largely of Samoan and Tongan bruisers, they were as physical as was expected, but struggled to exert themselves close to the line.

Anderson pleased

However, coach Daniel Anderson, back in England for the first time since leaving St Helens in 2008, was pleased with the way his thrown-together squad performed.

"We got stuck in, threw ourselves around and were unlucky not to score another try," he said.

"We just couldn't get the finishing touch from some of our players. The weather didn't help. We had a wet-weather session yesterday but most of the week had been dry.

"We wanted to put on a show for the fans, but that's how it is.

"England were efficient and professional and scored tries from kicks. I'd be surprised if anyone had a perfect game, but England probably handled the conditions better than we did."

Anderson, and also Wigan coach Shaun Wane, will also have been concerned to see captain Thomas Leuluai go off with an ankle injury.

The New Zealand international, leaving Wigan at the end of the season, is to undergo a scan, but Anderson speculated that the half-back could be missing for eight weeks.

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