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Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:59 UK

Goulding backing England victory

Tony Smith
Smith will be hoping England can build on the 66-12 win over France

England have been labelled as favourites to win the Four Nations by France coach Bobbie Goulding.

Bookmakers currently have Tony Smith's side second favourites behind Australia with World Cup winners New Zealand third and Goulding's France fourth.

However, Goulding's saw first-hand England's strength in their 66-12 win over France earlier this year.

"If they take that form into the Four Nations, they will be favourites to lift it," said Goulding.

"We had eight players missing but England would have beaten any team in the world that night."

England coach Smith will announce the initial members of his squad later this week.

It is likely that Smith will use the side that thrashed France in Paris on 13 June as a basis for his selection.

"They certainly put their hands up," he said. "They had a great chemistry with each other.


"We've got to sit down as coaches and work out whether they are still in the form that got them there or whether other people deserve to be ahead of them but they certainly didn't do themselves any harm."

Smith's initial selection will be from clubs who failed to make the play-offs, but he says his final selection is likely to hinge on form during the Grand Final series.

"It's still wide open," he said. "There are still people vying for positions and I'll be watching throughout the finals series.

Smith to keep faith with young England

"There's no doubt there's going to be someone who emerges to put their hand up."

Goulding is hoping for a boost to his French squad later this week when he discovers whether he is able to give debuts to Australians Clint Greenshields, Casey McGuire and Adam Mogg.

The Catalans trio, who have spent the last three seasons with the Perpignan club, are keen to represent France but are still awaiting an eligibility ruling from the International Federation.

"The lads are keen to play and two of them are State of Origin players so it can only be good for the competition," said Goulding.

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see also
Wilkin a doubt for Four Nations
02 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Smith delighted by World Cup news
29 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Pryce not included in elite squad
14 May 09 |  Rugby League
France 12-66 England
13 Jun 09 |  Rugby League
Goulding named new France coach
28 Feb 09 |  Rugby League

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