England women's team are looking sharp, admits assistant coach Adam Cuthbertson
ENGLAND’S WOMEN have impressed in training ahead of Saturday's first Test against Papua New Guinea in Goroka, assistant-coach Adam Cuthbertson says.
The England squad arrived in Papua New Guinea today after a week-long training camp in Brisbane and Cuthbertson – the Leeds Rhinos player and women’s team coach – said preparations for the two-match series, which concludes in Port Moresby in nine days’ time, have gone well.
“The girls look very sharp, a lot of things we’ve been working on we are just starting to put together now,” he confirmed.
“The forwards and backs are combining and we are getting into more or less team runs so it is starting to look really good.
“The conditions in Brisbane have been great, especially to put in the sort of practices where we can get the ball in hand and execute some great skill.
“It makes it a lot easier when the ball’s dry and I think the girls have been really enjoying it.”
England beat Papua New Guinea in the opening game of the World Cup Nines last month, but Cuthbertson admitted two full-scale Tests – on the Orchids’ home turf – will be a huge challenge.
“It is going to be a massive cultural difference,” he said. “They will find it tough, in terms of playing out of their comfort zone, but it will be a great experience.
“It is all about a journey, you go through thick and thin in these type of camps in climates you are not used to.
“I think it will enable the girls to grow as a group and really come together and unite as a team.
“They will be better for it come the end of the tour.”
Cuthbertson has been in charge of Leeds’ women’s side for two seasons, steering them to back-to-back Challenge Cup successes, the league leaders’ shield in 2018 and this year’s Super League title.
He was called into the England set-up, as assistant to head-coach Craig Richards, last month and said: “It has been really good, everyone has been welcoming.
“I am starting to get comfortable around everyone now. Craig has been brilliant, he has allowed me to express myself and really have my input.”