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Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Sunday, 26 October 2008

Australia set sights on England

Australia players celebrate their 30-6 victory over New Zealand
Israel Folau (left) and Billy Slater (centre) both scored tries

Australia coach Ricky Stuart said he expects his team to improve against England after watching them demolish New Zealand 30-6 at the World Cup.

Stuart said: "We wanted to show the opposition we are here to be serious and on form. We now want to show that we can raise the bar."

England laboured to a 32-22 victory over Papua New Guinea on Saturday and meet Australia next Sunday.

Stuart added that his team are coping with being tournament favourites.

"We are always vulnerable because we always carry the favourite's tag and there is always extra pressure," he said.

I'm very fortunate in having such a talented bunch of people

Australia coach Ricky Stuart

"We are not weak enough to let that become an obstacle for us. We have to try to eliminate that thought.

"I thought that against New Zealand we had a lot of speed, we have a fast team and had a lot of rhythm around our nine, seven and six.

"I'm very fortunate in having such a talented bunch of people," added Stuart. "They are not going to get any fitter or better skilfully. It is a matter of making sure we prepare mentally for each performance."

Australia hooker Cameron Smith said that he expected a difficult game against England.

"We know we are going to get better as the tournament goes on," said the Melbourne Storm player.

"It's a tough ask against the Pommies - they're a great team and beat us down here a couple of years ago."

Australia scored five tries against New Zealand with Johnathan Thurston kicking four goals and Smith the other.

Thurston played despite the death of his uncle, who was attacked by a group of men in the Brisbane suburb of Logan.

606: DEBATE

"The match gave me a chance to let out some of the emotion," said Thurston in a statement read out by Stuart after the match.

And the coach added: "He is a tough kid and he handled it very well. We will just take each day as it comes with Johnathan."

Kiwi boss Stephen Kearney could not hide his disappointment after the match.

"We are very disappointed, given the anticipation and the wonderful crowd," said the Kiwis boss.

"They put us under pressure and we couldn't respond. But we're not chucking in the towel. It was the first game for us against real opposition.

"We needed an indication of where we're at and we need some improvement."



see also
Australia 30-6 New Zealand
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
England 32-22 Papua New Guinea
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
What's the point of the World Cup?
23 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup squads
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup 2008 fixtures
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup Quiz
17 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup 2008 - players to watch
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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