Leeds Rhinos forward James Bentley tips Ireland for Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals
and live on Freeview channel 276
Bentley was among the try scorers when Ireland, who are based in Leeds, beat Jamaica 48-2 in their opening fixture to top group C after the opening round of matches.
“I think we can improve in a few areas, but for a first hit out, we can’t complain,” Bentley said of Ireland’s start.
“We know the games are going to get tougher, but we are looking forward to the test. We’re having a big week in training, we’re focused on the Lebanon game and we will see where we are after that.”
Though the Cedars caused the Kiwis some problems in their 34-12 round one defeat, but Bentley reckons Ireland have what it takes to get the job done this weekend, potentially setting up a knockout tie against champions Australia.
“I am confident, with the lads we have got here,” he pledged. “I think we have got a really good chance.
“We were a bit scrappy [against Jamaica] and cohesion might have been a bit better. We could have put the foot on the throat a bit more and probably run away with it a bit more.
“We missed a couple of opportunities and were a bit scrappy with our finishes, but for a first hit out I thought we did a really good job.”
Bentley’s try added to the six touchdowns he ran in during 22 appearances for Leeds this year - including a crucial brace in the Betfred Super League semi-final win at Wigan Warriors.
Reflecting on the try against Jamaica, which was scored from an unfamiliar role, Bentley said: “I won’t say no to them when they come like that.
“I didn’t really expect that one, I went to hooker and jumped out and the gap was there, so it was good.”
Highlight of this weekend’s game could be the clash between NRL playmakers Mitchell Moses, of Paramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters’ Luke Keary.
Keary was man of the match in the clash with Jamaica and Bentley said: “He is a great lad, down to earth.
“He’s just one of the lads, there’s no ego or anything like that so it’s great to have him in the team.
“Obviously you can see his skill and calibre when he plays, but he is all for the lads, which is the main thing.”
Bentley is also enjoying playing alongside fellow second-rower James McDonnell, who will join Rhinos in pre-season from Wigan Warriors.
“He is a good, tough player - a bit like myself,” Bentley noted. “I am enjoying playing with him, he likes getting stuck into the thick of it with me, I am looking forward to next year and getting stuck in with him.”
Ireland will be back at Headingley to face the Kiwis in their final group match, on October 28 and Bentley admitted being on home turf has been a bonus.
“It’s easy for my family to get here,” he said. “I had a few aunties and uncles who were there to see me play for the first time, so that was good.
“It is a bit different being involved in a World Cup, but “I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really good group of lads and we are all bonding well together.”
Despite a long domestic season, culminating in a Grand Final appearance, Bentley stressed he’s not yet ready for a break.
He said: “My body feels good. Obviously I didn’t play that many games last year so I am feeling fresh. I am enjoying playing at the minute, I am really happy and I am looking forward to the next few weeks.”