England star George Williams says there are no more "cliques" in national set-up

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josie andrews
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England star George Williams says there are no more "cliques" in national set-up

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Warrington half-back has been inspirational in England's charge to semi-final where he hopes to help beat Samoa on Saturday to reach Old Trafford showpiece - and the chance of making history

George Williams says England’s “cliquey” days are over and their “one team” ethos could drive them to World Cup glory.

The national team are just 80 minutes away from a second successive final. Shaun Wane’s men face Samoa in Saturday’s crunch semi at Emirates Stadium with Australia or New Zealand awaiting the victors. Warrington half-back Williams, 27, has played under Steve McNamara and Wayne Bennett for England but says life in the current regime is the best yet.

His ex-Wigan boss Wane has organised family days where players’ kids attend training and the squad also attended the National Memorial Arboretum on Monday to pay their respects to the fallen members of the armed forces. Williams said: “It does feel as one. It feels whole. There’s lads from different clubs and when I first got into the England system it was a bit cliquey.

But now it’s One Team England. Forget your Leeds, Warrington, Wigan: we’re as one and that shows on the pitch. We’re together. It's a great environment and hopefully we’ve got two more games and two more wins."

And he is looking to make his mark against Samoa after missing out on the epic 2017 World Cup semi-final win when thousands of fanatical Tongan fans made an intimidating sea of red in Auckland. Williams recalled: “It was unreal. I wasn’t fortunate to play (v Tonga) but I was there and saw it all. I’ve played in some big games in good venues and I think that’s the best atmosphere I’ve ever seen.

“We scored and they were singing hymns. It was just surreal. Hopefully we can create something similar on Saturday (against Samoa) but it’s white shirts and England songs.”

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the last time a British side won the World Cup, Great Britain prospering in France. Having marched through this tournament so far, is it dawning on Williams that England, who narrowly lost to Australia in 2017, could soon write their own history? He said: “Not dawning. It probably excites us more than anything, We’re really excited.

We’ve worked all our lives to be in these types of situations and play in the biggest games and biggest venues. We’re prepared, we’re ready and we believe.”

But Samoa - who stunned Tonga in Sunday's high-quality quarter-final - tonight received a major boost when captain Junior Paulo won his appeal against a one-match ban so is free to face England. England’s wheelchair side take on Ireland tomorrow morning while their unbeaten women's side face Papua New Guinea tomorrow night knowing the victors will secure top spot in group A.

Meanwhile, high-performance consultant Dr Cherrie Daley, who has worked for the English Institute of Sport, the RFU, British Diving and Manchester City, has joined the RFL as a non-executive director and St Helens have signed prolific Barrow winger Tee Ritson on a season-long loan deal for 2023.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/rugby-le ... e-28442984
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage. #18thMan
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