England players suffering 'wear and tear' says coach Denis Betts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 03/11/17 8:55am
Denis Betts says some of the England players are showing signs of "wear and tear" two weeks into the World Cup.
Head coach Wayne Bennett has made just one change to the side that lost the opening game to Australia for Saturday's second Group A clash with Lebanon, which leaves six players still waiting for their first chance on tour.
That may come in the final group game against France in Perth on November 12 with Bennett hoping to give all his players game time before the knock-out stages.
Former England international Betts, writing in his latest blog on dairmagazine.com which is following his World Cup journey, insists that spirits remain high.
"I know coaches will tell you it's not important for everyone to get on but believe me it helps massively when you've got a group like this that does," said the former Great Britain international, who insists the fringe players remain focused.
When you've got 24 bulls in a room, sometimes they clash heads and lock horns and you want them to be aggressive and use their emotions but in the right way.
"It's about keeping them motivated, chatting to them, but they get it. They stay ready because they know they could play a massive part at any time.
"Some guys are already showing signs of wear and tear. Everyone understands what we're about as a whole group: staff and players.
"It's about staying honest and staying clear. Wayne doesn't promise anything but everyone knows he wants to use everyone. We share a collective purpose and we're all in it together.
"Apparently the Italian team have been fighting amongst themselves. You don't want that.
"When you've got 24 bulls in a room, sometimes they clash heads and lock horns and you want them to be aggressive and use their emotions but in the right way. Not thumping a team-mate on a night out."
The England team are now in their fourth week in Australia, having arrived early for a 10-day training camp in Perth, and moved on from Melbourne to Sydney last weekend and Betts believes the constant travelling helps stave off the danger of boredom and monotony.
"It's about keeping everyone on track," he added. "Everyone is monitored constantly by the medical, strength and conditioners and physios.
"It's not like working on an oil rig for eight weeks where you get up every day and do the same job. Things are constantly changing; our surroundings, facilities, time zones etc."
Head coach Bennett's only change has been forced by injury, with prop Alex Walmsley coming in for his debut in place of the injured Sam Burgess as he looks to tinker at the edges following an encouraging performance in the 18-4 loss to the Kangaroos.
"We just want to do things better than we did last week, that's our challenge," he said.
"There won't be changes in key areas, it's just doing those things that we've been working on since I came to the team last year.
"We're much better in a lot of areas and there's been some big improvements.
"Over the next two games I'm looking for us to do more things right and more things better."