RUGBY : England have gone for size in an attempt to bully Australia into submission in their Gillette Four Nations clash at Wigan’s DW Stadium.
England have gone for size in an attempt to bully Australia into submission in their Gillette Four Nations clash at Wigan’s DW Stadium.
Coach Tony Smith has made two changes in personnel for Saturday, from the side that struggled to beat France in their opening game – bringing in Wigan half-back Sam Tomkins and Huddersfield’s giant prop Eorl Crabtree. They take the places of Richie Myler and Scott Moore as England seek the win that would put them through to the November 14 final with a game in hand.
“We’ve got a big pack and we consider that as part of our strength,” Smith told a news conference at the team’s Manchester hotel.
England will have even greater presence in reserve with the 6ft 6in, 18st Crabtree going on to the bench – alongside the exciting and versatile Sam Burgess and Warrington’s workaholic forward Ben Westwood.
Crabtree, nephew of the late wrestler ‘Big Daddy’, missed England’s last two matches after undergoing minor knee surgery but is rewarded for an impressive season with Huddersfield and an eye-catching performance against France in June.
“He’s a big boy who has had a tremendous season this year,” said Smith.
“Even when Huddersfield had a couple of lean games, he’s still been a shining light for them.
“He’s made a big impact for them off the bench. He’s got some offload and some size and second-phase play to his game.
“He’s a big man to handle and he’s ready for it. He’s been itching for this opportunity for years and years now.”