Roby hoping he has done enough
ST HELENS hooker James Roby is playing a waiting game to discover if he will get the chance to play in England’s knockout games in the World Cup.
The veteran number nine was singled out for praise by head coach Wayne Bennett after helping England to a 36-6 victory over France in their final group match in Perth which secured their place in the last eight.
Roby is now hoping he has done enough to keep his spot for the clash with Papua New Guinea in the last quarter-final in Melbourne on Sunday.
Roby was recalled in place of England’s regular hooker Josh Hodgson while Mark Percival, Mike McMeeken, Scott Taylor and Kevin Brown all played their first games of the World Cup. Bennett said he was satisfied with all of their contributions.
“Wayne will speak to us during the week and tell us what his team selection is,” said Roby. “There’s good rivalry in this squad in pretty much every position. They’re all quality players.
“Obviously me and Josh are rotating in training but that’s the same for the other players. We’re all competitive by nature and it probably brings out the best in us without us even realising it sometimes.”
England flew out of Perth on Monday to set up camp in Melbourne, where they began their World Cup campaign with an 18-4 defeat by Australia three weeks ago.
Bennett’s men have yet to look convincing in the tournament, having failed to make the most of flying starts against both Lebanon and France.
“We’re aware of that,” Roby said. “We need to rectify it. We had a really good start against France and put points on the board but in the second half our completion was way down.
“I’m sure we’ll be touching on that this week. There were periods in the game when we got a bit lost and we need to get that out of our game and put an 80-minute performance together.”
Whether Bennett opts for either Roby or Hodgson or a combination of both, they will be up against two world-class hookers in James Segeyaro, who had a successful if brief stint in Super League with Leeds in 2016, and Catalans Dragons’ Paul Aiton.
“They’re well-known names,” Roby said. “We know what they’re capable of. They’re fantastic players.
“I’ve played against PNG a couple of times, they’re a very physical team.” GIANTS winger Jermaine McGillvary was delighted to let his rugby do the talking for him after helping England secure their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The Huddersfield flier was cleared to play in England’s final group match against France at Perth’s Rectangular Stadium after being found not guilty of biting Lebanon captain Robbie Farah during last week’s 29-10 win over the Cedars.
McGillvary spoke of the damage to his reputation that was caused by incident but his standing in the international game soared when he scored two tries in England’s 36-6 victory over the French.
“After something like that which wasn’t nice, you needed a response,” he said.
“It could have been easy for me to go into my shell and be a bit timid and stay out on my wing but I tried my best to come in and do what I normally do.
“I thought I did it in stages against France. It was a little hiccup that happened last week and I’ll go again and keep trying to improve.”
McGillvary has now scored four tries in the World Cup and is averaging a try a game for his country, but he was critical of his performance after a knock-on near his own line gifted France possession from which they scored their only game.
He also admits England will need to improve when they take on Papua New Guinea in Melbourne on Sunday for a place in the semi-finals after failing to press home their advantage for the second successive week.
“It was alright but I’m still a bit miffed about that dropped ball in the first half,” McGillvary said.
“That’s not like me. The two tries are nice and the win is even better. The second half wasn’t too cracking so it’s something we need to look at if we want to progress. Our completion wasn’t real good.”
Among a host of eye-catching performers for the Kumuls winger Garry Lo, who will make the move from Sheffield Eagles to Castleford next season and is set to go up against McGillvary.
Lo picked up a calf injury in his side’s 64-0 rout of the United States on Sunday, but McGillvary is hoping he recovers in time for next Sunday’s game.
“I’m hoping to play against him,” said McGillvary.
“He’s having an outstanding tournament and that’s why I love being here, I want to test myself against the top players.
“He’s a young man who’s going to take Super League by storm next year. He’s a wrecking ball. It will be good to test myself against him and vice versa.
“I’ve played against a few wrecking balls, like Justin Carney, in my career. I always like