Four Nations: Burgess expects an improved showing

Tom Burgess.
Tom Burgess.
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YORKSHIREMAN TOM Burgess is backing England to bounce back this weekend.

The hosts’ Ladbrokes Four Nations campaign got off to a disappointing start when they were pipped 17-16 by New Zealand.

That means there is no margin for error in Saturday’s encounter with Scotland at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and Burgess is expecting England to be pushed all the way.

“You can’t take any game lightly,” stressed the South Sydney Rabbitohs prop, who was born in Dewsbury and had a spell on Leeds Rhinos’ scholarship before joining Bradford Bulls.

“We will be preparing exactly the same as we did for New Zealand and France.

“We will go into it knowing Scotland will come out firing.

“They will be working on things they learned in the Australia game so we are expecting a tough battle.”

England are still licking their wounds and Burgess – whose brothers Sam and George also featured against the Kiwis – admitted last Saturday’s result was “hard to take”.

But he said they can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves with hopes of a place in the final on November 20 hanging by a thread.

“It is hard to lose, especially when it means a lot to you,” he conceded. “There were hometown feelings for me, so it was pretty disappointing, but it is no use dwelling on it.

“We have got to move on and make sure we do everything possible this week to improve and put in a great performance against Scotland.”

Last Saturday’s defeat at Huddersfield was Wayne Bennett’s second game as England coach - following a win in France seven days earlier – and the squad had only been together two weeks.

Burgess feels England will be better this week.

“We have spoken about being smarter,” he said.

“That’s what we need to do this week. It is hard to win games if you have 20 per cent completion in the first half.

“That obviously took a lot out of us, but we will take a lot from [last week’s] game.

“Defence-wise, we did defend very well on our line for long periods of time.

“There were a lot of positives there for us, it is not a one-game series and we’re looking forward to continuing it.

“We’ve got to keep that same spirit now, keep training hard and that’s all we can do now.”

Experience gained in last year’s Tests against the Kiwi could be important for England.

They won the opener a year ago, but lost the second Test narrowly before wrapping up a rare series success with victory in the decider.

“A lot of the boys have been together for a few years now,” Burgess pointed out.

“We are trying to pick up from where we left off last year.

“We’ve got Sam back now as captain and that’s a new dimension there for us.

“We’ve just got to keep working on our combinations.

“Obviously Galey [Luke Gale] is new in the team and I thought he did great [last week].”