Rugby League World Cup: Kevin Sinfield upbeat on England hopes

Kevin Sinfield

Rugby League World Cup 2013

26 October-30 November
BBC Sport on TV, radio and online

Kevin Sinfield knows all about winning trophies at club level, but come the end of the domestic season his focus will move on to arguably the biggest test of his career.

The England captain has the Rugby League World Cup in his sights, as the cream of the sport comes to assorted venues across England, Ireland, Wales and France.

And at 32, the Leeds Rhinos playmaker is confident he can lead the nation to success when the tournament begins in October.

"I'm no spring chicken, so the likelihood is that it will surely be my last World Cup and my last chance," he told Super League TV.

"It's been that long since England have accomplished anything, certainly with the southern hemisphere teams involved but why not this year? It's a big opportunity.

"Hopefully I'll be involved and come [the final on] 30 November - a date we talk about quite a lot - we'll be smiling."

Having hoisted the Super League and World Club Challenge trophies aloft with the Rhinos, Sinfield has the experience of marshalling a winning team.

The Oldham-born utility player led a Super League-only pool of players to a 100% Tri-Nations campaign last Autumn, and Steve McNamara's developing crop of players have bonded on training camps as varied as South Africa and RAF Cranwell.

Come October, the group will also be bolstered by the quality of NRL-based stars such as stand-off Gareth Widdop, who will rival Sinfield for the spot, Sam, Luke and George Burgess and prop James Graham.

Such quality, added to rising talent promoted through the Knights set-up such as Zak Hardaker, Josh Charnley, Kallum Watkins and Kieran Dixon, has given Sinfield optimism.

"Is it realistic? Yeah we believe so. There'll be people down under and a lot of people in the UK as well who doubt whether we're good enough, doubt the belief and whether the strength in depth is there," he added.

What Steve McNamara has put in place, along with the Rugby Football League and other members of staff, they have recruited the best in every area and left no stone unturned in the quest for World Cup success.

"The players that are available now, including the NRL-based players and the young players added to the core of senior lads, competition for places is as strong as I remember," Sinfield added.

"Add to that the culture and the togetherness of the group, if you throw those ingredients together, when I look I'm optimistic.

"Knowing what's going on inside [the squad], I think we have a great shout."

The BBC will broadcast live TV and radio coverage of all England's group games, plus a quarter-final, a semi-final and the final of the tournament which starts on 26 October.

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