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Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Smith eager to silence knockers

RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP SEMI-FINAL:
New Zealand v England
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Date: Saturday, 15 November Kick-off: 0855 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky Sports 2; Live text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights on BBC Sport website, BBC Red Button and BBC One, Saturday 1300 GMT
Tony Smith
Smith is confident his team will get it right in Brisbane on Saturday

England coach Tony Smith has vowed to prove the critics wrong by leading his under-fire side into a World Cup final.

England played poorly in the pool stages of the tournament but still earned a semi-final meeting with New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.

"If you start believing what other people say about you, then you are in trouble," Smith told BBC Sport.

"We've got a lot of faith in ourselves. We always have. It's only the people outside the group that have any doubt."

England beat Papua New Guinea 36-22 in their opening game in Australia but were less than impressive.

They slumped to their worst-ever World Cup defeat the following week, crushed 52-4 by the Kangaroos, and were beaten 36-24 by the Kiwis after leading 24-8 at half-time.

But despite the criticism that has been levelled at his side in both Australia and Great Britain, Smith is confident England can turn things around and reach the final.

If we do nail a performance, it'll silence a few of the less positive members of the press

England forward Adrian Morley

"We need to make some adjustments and play better as a squad, which is taking more time than we would have liked," he said.

"But we are in the semi-finals of the World Cup and you've got to produce your best by the end of it. That's what we're hoping to do.

"There are some areas that we need to tidy up. If we do that, it will be very difficult for us to be beaten.

"We stick tight and that's the only way, in a team sport, that you can go ahead.

"What anybody wants to say, that's fine. We're not too bothered about it. Those who lose faith, I'm glad they are not in my team, because the team hasn't lost faith."

Adrian Morley insists the mood in the camp remains positive.

The England forward told BBC Radio Manchester: "I know we've had two defeats so far but the mood is surprisingly upbeat. We've still got confidence in one another and confidence in the coach."

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"The beauty of it is even though we've not been playing particularly well, we are still in this competition. We realise where we've been going wrong and we realise we've not been playing to our potential.

"But we are in the semi-finals of the World Cup, so there is all to play for and we're not too far from nailing an 80-minute performance."

The Warrington player added that some of the criticism had been justified but felt a lot of it was over the top.

"When the ex-great players start coming out of the woodwork and bagging us, those kind of people should be getting behind us and supporting us," he said.

"If we do nail a performance, it'll silence a few of the less positive members of the press."

see also
NZ switch Leuluai to hooker role
13 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith furious after loss to Kiwis
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
GB captaincy changed me - Morley
23 Jun 07 |  Rugby League


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