England Set Their Sights On Rlwc2013
England will begin honing their preparations for Rugby League World Cup 2013 tomorrow (Wednesday January 30) when coach Steve McNamara and the Elite Training Squad and England Knights squads meet for the first time this year.
The meeting takes place just two days before the start of the new Super League season and for McNamara its timing, together with the presence of so many of the sport's top stars, is significant.
"The next 10 months are going to be fantastic as we embark on what I believe is the biggest Rugby League season in living memory," said McNamara, who will be at Headingley on Friday night to watch the opening match of the new Super League season, when champions Leeds Rhinos welcome Hull FC.
"All the players are fully focused on doing well with their Super League clubs once the big kick-off gets underway but it says much about their commitment to the England cause that they are all keen to be involved in Wednesday's meeting."
One of the players involved on Wednesday will be Warrington Wolves prop Chris Hill, who McNamara believes should be the inspiration for many Super League players.
Hill was selected to play for the national team in his breakthrough season at Warrington and McNamara believes there are many other players playing in Rugby League's elite competition that can follow the former Leigh Centurions player's example.
"When people ask me about what it takes to be an England player, I tell them about Chris Hill," said McNamara, who will have the Rugby League World Cup trophy on display at his meeting.
"In less than two years, Chris has gone from playing in the Championship to establishing himself as one of Super League's most destructive forwards. Not only did he help us win the Autumn Internationals Series, he was pivotal in Warrington's Challenge Cup final victory and helped them reach their first ever Super League Grand Final last October.
"Any English player that has a goal of playing in a World Cup, just needs to look at what Chris has achieved and try to emulate his incredible drive and determination. There are a number of players in Super League that can do the same this campaign. That's why I believe this year's competition will be captivating and fascinating at every level."
McNamara, who will announce his first ETS squad for 2013 at the beginning of March, will also repeat last year's high-altitude camp in South Africa. The squad will return to the North West University training campus in Potchefstroom two weeks prior to the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup against Australia at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday October 26.
"The high-altitude camp last October was a big success for us," said McNamara. The impact the camp had on training and conditioning was invaluable.
"All the camps this year will be vital in honing in our preparation and we will continue to use the world class facilities available to us in Loughborough. Loughborough is firmly established as our home now, which underpins our plans and ultimately World Cup glory."
The England RL 2013 schedule in full is as follows:
Wednesday January 30 - England players' meeting
Monday March 4 - ETS squad announcement
Saturday March 16-18 - ETS Camp One
Sunday May 12-14 - ETS Camp Two
Tuesday June 4 - England RL squad announcement to face Exiles
Sunday June 9-14 - ETS Camp Three (Exiles match)
Friday June 14 - England v Exiles at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
Wednesday August 28 - ETS Meeting
Monday September 16 - Fall-out sessions commence
Tuesday October 1 - England RL World Cup squad announcement
Monday October 7-16 - High-altitude camp, Potchefstroom
Saturday October 19 - World Cup warm up game
Monday October 21 - World Cup camp commences
Saturday October 26 - Rugby League World Cup 2013
29, Jan, 2013