Rugby League World Cup: England fired up by ‘patriotic’ Stuart Pearce speech before Greece showdown

Rugby League World Cup: England fired up by ‘patriotic’ Stuart Pearce speech before Greece showdown

England will head into their final Rugby League World Cup group-stage clash with Greece with Stuart Pearce’s “patriotic” address ringing in their ears.

The former West Ham coach delivered a motivational speech to Shaun Wane’s England stars this week, at a crucial stage in the campaign.

England will be expected to cruise past Greece, so Euro 96 penalty hero Pearce’s captivating talk has boosted the squad in a bid to avoid any lulls in mood or momentum.

‘Psycho’ will forever be remembered for exorcising his penalty demons by blasting home in England’s quarter-final shootout triumph over Spain. But now, at the age of 60, league fan Pearce has taken the time to gee up the latest England side going for home glory.

“Everyone knows who Stuart Pearce is, and just to hear first-hand how patriotic he is and how much he cares about rugby league, it was fantastic,” said St Helens wing Tommy Makinson. “We can learn from what he did, he’s been in those big moments, and now we have to deliver.”

George Williams will captain England for their final Group A game at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm).

Second rows Joe Batchelor and Kai Pearce-Paul will make their tournament debuts, with England already qualified for the quarter-finals after potent wins over Samoa and France.

“We’ve done the hard work, and it all falls down to this now,” added Makinson. “We want three in a row but we won’t be underestimating anyone.

“I’m back in the side this week and I’m really ready to take my opportunity. We want to create good habits, this is what we are here to do, hopefully to go on and win the World Cup.

“So starting against Greece hopefully we can build confidence and combinations to move forward.”