MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 01:19:39

Coach Steve McNamara: 'Favourites tag is alien to England'

Steve McNamara says that England's favourites tag is alien.

England coach Steve McNamara has said that his team will have to adapt to being favourites for a tournament.

England play Wales on Saturday and France later on in their Autumn International series, and are expected to win the competition comfortably.

However, Australia and New Zealand have dominated recent World Cups and Tri/Four Nations tournaments, with England looking to bridge the gap between themselves and the Southern Hemisphere superpowers.

McNamara said: "It is alien for us to begin a competition as favourites. We will judge ourselves on what we want to achieve not the opposition."

England, who confirmed that they will hand debuts to Leeds full-back Zac Hardiker and Wigan hooker Michael McIlorum, travel to Wrexham to play Wales on Saturday.

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