England head coach Steve McNamara has kept his cards close to his chest about selection for this weekend’s deciding Test match against New Zealand – and has refused to lay the blame for last weekend’s loss to the Kiwis at half-back George Williams’ door.
The young Wigan half-back copped plenty of criticism for his performance at the Olympic Stadium last weekend – as well as half-back partner Gareth Widdop – after England failed to score a try during the 9-2 loss to the Kiwis.
But when asked about Williams’ state heading into the deciding Test match, McNamara refused to push the blame solely onto Williams and any other individual in his squad.
“He’s fine. I thought George defended really well,” McNamara said of Williams.
“Defence is half of the game and he played extremely well in that part of the it, as did the rest of the team, particularly on our goal-line defence.
“We weren’t as clever in attack. (But) It certainly wasn’t anything about any one person in our team.”
McNamara agreed his side’s attack was not good enough last weekend, but refused to agree with talk that his side are stunted in attack in general.
“I’ve really enjoyed the way we generally attack,” he said.
“For whatever reason, we never did that at the weekend and some of the credit has got to go to New Zealand for preventing us from doing that at times.
“There was only one try scored. I think sometimes you’ve got to reward teams’ defensive efforts and it’s not just our sport, I think in sport in general people don’t quite often recognise a great defensive performance.
“But I agree we should have attacked a little bit better than we did. We didn’t score enough points.”