Betts defends squad's balance

12 October 2017 03:51:16 GMTPlus11
Wayne Bennett

England assistant coach Denis Betts says the squad preparing to fly out to Australia for the World Cup is well balanced.

The 24-man party flies out on Thursday with England's opening game, against their Australian hosts on 27th October.

You'd like to think we can pick a team and keep the combinations and everybody has to fight to get into that team.

Denis Betts

Head coach Wayne Bennett has selected just 10 backs for the squad, picking more forwards in anticipation of the physical demands of the tournament.

However, Betts insists the party includes players who are versatile enough to adapt to any position.

Betts said: "It's top-heavy because it's the hardest place to play. You're going to bash people about in there. They're going to be carrying the ball 20 or 30 times in a Test match.

"You'd like to think we can pick a team and keep the combinations and everybody has to fight to get into that team.

"But there's going to be players that might have to play out of position and be the best player they can be."

England are 5/1 to win their first game of the tournament with Australia priced at 3/20. England are 93/100 to win the game with a 14.5-point start.

The squad flies out to a training camp in Perth and then plays an Affiliated States team a week before the Australia game and Betts said that most if not all of the squad would be involved in that game.

"My understanding is that it's a friendly," he added. "It's about bodies against bodies without bashing ourselves and just getting ourselves playing as a unit, looking at combinations, looking at getting players on the field playing for their country."

The game against Australia, taking place in Melbourne, opens the tournament which comes to a conclusion on 2nd December, the final being staged in Brisbane.

Australia are 1/1 to win the World Cup while England are priced 1/1.

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