Exiles coach expecting a bruising encounter
Exiles coach Brian McClennan is relishing the prospect of masterminding his second Exiles victory over what he has described as a “very strong” England side when they meet at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Friday (June 14, 8.00pm).
McClennan was in charge of the Exiles for the inaugural International Origin Match in 2011 when the team of Super League-based Anzac players sealed a dramatic 16-12 win with a last-minute try and he is expecting another close encounter this time around.
“I was delighted to be involved in the first game,” said McClennan. “Obviously there were two games last year but it’s back to one now, which I think works best for this concept. I’m really looking forward to getting all the Anzac players together for the game.
“I had a look at the England squad before travelling here and it is a very strong group.
“I think it’s easy to see that the depth of players available is getting stronger every year and that’s exciting for England and I’m really pleased to see that the England team is heading in the right direction.
“They’ve had to leave out some very good players and that’s always a good sign for any team. This game is a very important match for them as part of their preparation in what is the most important year of all, a World Cup year, and it’s great for us to be involved in that process.
“We know we have a massive challenge on our hands but we’re looking forward to it and I’m expecting it to be a very close and intense game.”
Having led the Exiles to victory in 2011, McClennan knows what it takes to success in this fixture and he’s confident that he’s got the talent at his disposal to continue the Exiles’ stranglehold on the Origin trophy.
“I think we’ve got a very strong squad for the game,” he said. “It’s always hard to pick a representative side and we’ve tried to pick players from in-form clubs and keep some combinations together as we don’t have all that long together in camp.
“There are a lot of good players like Mark O’Meley, who were in that 2011 squad, that have missed out on the fringes this year. We’ll see how this weekend plays out in case we get any injuries but I’m very happy with the squad we have.
“Primarily you pick a team who you think will win a game – and that’s what we’ve done.”
Tickets for the 2013 International Origin Game, England v Exiles at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, cost from just £20 (£15 students and OAPs, £10 concessions) and are now on sale from the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or online at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk/ Tickets can also be purchased from the The Halliwell Jones Stadium Ticket Office.