Rugby League World Cup 2017: Fatigue will affect England's hopes, says Lee Radford

By Dave WoodsBBC rugby league correspondent
England v Samoa - Mike McMeeken and Zak Hardaker tackle Sam Kasiano
Mike McMeeken and Zak Hardaker are among the England players who could go into the World Cup fatigued after a 30-plus game season

Hull FC coach Lee Radford says England's players will be "bent, knackered and fatigued" by the time the Rugby League World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea comes around in October.

He blames the botched plans for the pre-season training camp in Dubai as a direct cause for damaging England's tournament chances.

Radford has been left fuming by the recent run of fixtures that have seen his team - and most of the other Super League sides - having to play three games in just nine days.

The second congested week of the season - just a month after a similar fixture pile-up over Easter - was created to accommodate an England pre-season camp that did not take place.

"I sat in a room with [England coach] Wayne Bennett and all he did was tell us that Super League isn't as good as the NRL," Radford told the 5 live rugby league podcast.

"So, come to a Monday game and come to the following week's game and there's your reason why it's not as intense as the NRL. Half my team's in the stands.

"Don't criticise our competition when you you're had a massive impact in changing the comp, ultimately harming the comp.

"Nobody wants England to win the World Cup more than I do. But you're going to send our troops over there bent, knackered and fatigued."

Players 'beyond the limit'

England coach Wayne Bennett
England coach Wayne Bennett also coaches NRL side Brisbane Broncos

Clubs have also accommodated England's mid-season Test match against Samoa amid their own fixture commitments, with players heading to Australia in May on the cusp of the Easter break.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott also believes the recent run of games has been beyond the limits for players in such a physical sport.

McDermott said in the podcast: "You can't keep getting them to go out and run a small marathon with some collision in there. There's a limit to what the human body can take.

"We're halfway through a 30-round season and this is our second catch-up weekend and my blokes have gone. They're wasted at the moment."

Top Stories