ENGLAND HAVE had perfect preparation for tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final clash with Tonga, half-back Luke Gale reckons.
The Wall of White came through a physical test against Papua New Guinea five days ago, scoring six tries to one in a 36-6 victory.
Tonga, the World Cup’s surprise package, will be a bigger challenge in Auckland tomorrow (5am UK time), but Gale feels England have had a taste of what to expect and proved they can handle it.
“They were a very physical side,” the Castleford Tigers man said of Papua New Guinea.
“They are a good side that run it back at you with a fair bit of intent.
“It was a really tough game, but a good one – they came to play and we knew they would.
“It took a couple of days to get over it, with all the bruises and we had some extra recovery, but we’re all sweet now and looking forward to the next test.
“It will be a bigger test again. We’re in the semi-final of a World Cup, there will be more of the same in terms of physicality and they have some stars among them as well so we’re expecting a tough encounter.”
England have reached the last-four without finding their best form and Gale knows they need to cut out the errors which have marred their four games so far.
“We definitely need to get it right this week,” he said. “We haven’t quite hit that 80-minute performance yet and we must do if we want to get to this final.
“We have to be better this week, but I do feel like we’re getting there as well.
“It’s do or die now – It’s semi-final football and I’m sure the boys will be ready.
“It’s just about cutting the little errors out and completing a bit higher this week and that’s what the boys are looking at.”
England’s last World Cup final appearance was in 1995, when Gale was seven.
They have lost three successive semi-finals since then – all to New Zealand – and Gale admitted: “It’d be the highlight of my career so far to get to a World Cup final, but we’ve got a big 80 minutes to perform in first and I can’t allow myself to dream that dream yet.
“I’ve got a big job to do on Saturday first.”