James Roby and Josh Hodgson relish England partnership
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 03/11/17 8:56am
Hooking duo James Roby and Josh Hodgson believe they have the combination to unlock World Cup success for England.
Roby, who was recalled to the national team on the back of an impressive season with St Helens, justified the faith of coach Wayne Bennett with an eye-catching display in England's 18-4 defeat by Australia in Melbourne.
Roby will win his 27th cap in Saturday's second Group A game against Lebanon at the Sydney Football Stadium, where he will again share the dummy-half duties with former Hull KR skipper Hodgson.
"I came on at nine and, when Josh came back on, he played in the middle," Roby said. "I stayed at hooker and Josh was running some plays. It worked pretty well.
"Josh is almost like an extra half-back in the middle of the field linking up with the forwards. It's great to have some of his vision and skill in the middle."
Hodgson, now with Canberra Raiders, has established himself as England's first-choice number nine but is delighted with the competition provided by the former Man of Steel.
"James is a great player," Hodgson said. "We're very fortunate in the English team to have quite a few good number nines and it certainly keeps you on your toes in training. It makes you try to be the best you can be every day.
"We played together in 2015 when we won the Test series against the Kiwis and we worked pretty well together then."
Saturday's international against Lebanon will the first between the two countries but many of the Cedars' players are familiar to England, most notably skipper Robbie Farah, who won eight caps for Australia before returning to his roots.
"I know what Robbie Farah is about," Roby said. "I've played against him a few times and he's been around a similar amount of time to myself.
"He's a great player and has been doing it consistently for a decade or so. We know all about the likes of him, Mitchell Moses and Tim Mannah, they have some fantastic players in their own right.
"We can't take things for granted - we have to concentrate on our own game and prepare the best we can."