England and Huddersfield Giants forward Eorl Crabtree has highlighted Fridayâ€™s International Origin Match against the Exiles as a pivotal moment for the England squad ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013.
England will play their only competitive pre-World Cup game against the Exiles at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington (8.00pm) and Crabtree believes it will be a significant occasion for players and coaching staff alike.
â€œIâ€™m really enjoying being in the England camp so far,â€ said Crabtree, who is part of a 20-man squad spending the week at the teamâ€™s Loughborough University base. â€œItâ€™s quite intense and weâ€™re working hard for the game at the weekend.
â€œWe know we need to be well prepared for Friday. This is going to be the most intense game any of us will play all season until the World Cup starts so we need to make the most of it.
â€œAs players we all know that we need to grab the opportunity and put in a big performance and put ourselves in the frame to get selected for the World Cup at the end of the season.
â€œSome people have labelled the International Origin Match as a sort of warm-up for us but thatâ€™s not something I agree with. This is a test for us and a massive game for the group.
â€œFrom a personal perspective Iâ€™d like to win. We havenâ€™t won this series yet against the Exiles and Iâ€™d like to be part of the England squad that changes that.â€
Crabtree is one of three Giants players in the squad alongside Leroy Cudjoe and England newcomer Brett Ferres, and for the first time in International Origin Match history they wonâ€™t be lining up against any club-mates but Crabtree says he isnâ€™t concerned with the Exiles squad.
â€œIâ€™ve had a quick glance at the Exiles squad,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m not too interested in what they are doing. We know theyâ€™re all good players otherwise they wouldnâ€™t be selected but weâ€™ve got a really strong squad ourselves and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m concentrating on.
â€œGetting a win and keeping Englandâ€™s unbeaten run going from 2012 is a big thing.
â€œYou want to go into any game with confidence and going into the World Cup we know we will have a lot of skill and ability in the squad but going into that competition off the back of a win against the Exiles will be a good boost for the whole group.â€
Tickets for the 2013 International Origin Game, England v Exiles at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, cost from just Â£20 (Â£15 students and OAPs, Â£10 concessions) and are now on sale from the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or online at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk/ Tickets can also be purchased from the The Halliwell Jones Stadium Ticket Office.