Rugby League Four Nations Series: No warm-up for England

Steve McNamara
England boss Steve McNamara is also assistant coach at NRL side Sydney Roosters

England will face Samoa in the opening match of the Four Nations Series after going 11 months without a game.

The fixture, in Brisbane on 25 October, comes just two weeks after the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.

"We simply won't have time for a warm-up match," said coach Steve McNamara, back from Australia for a training camp in Loughborough.

England's last game was their defeat against New Zealand in the semi-final of the World Cup.

Four Nations champions Australia face New Zealand in Brisbane on the same night that England take on Samoa in the same stadium. The rest of the series will be played at venues in Australia and New Zealand.

In the last three seasons, England have warmed up for their autumn commitments with fixtures against a representative 'Exiles' side comprised of foreign Super League-based players, but that has been abandoned for 2014.

McNamara, who is also assistant coach at NRL side Sydney Roosters, added: "It's more important for us at that stage to be preparing for that round one game against Samoa.

"We've one less week than the others to prepare for it, but we know there is limited time at end of the season."

McNamara has faced criticism for basing himself in Sydney, but says he is in constant touch with the rugby league and coaching assistants Paul Deacon and Paul Wellens.

"I get all the games and all the stats analysis every week," he said. "I have an outstanding group of staff, headed up by our head analyst, so everything is sent across.

"I'm not live at games, but we've obviously got a fair few of our players based in the NRL and it's great to see them play first hand."

He added that he would have a good idea of the opposition England will face given that most of the players feature in the NRL.

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