• Rugby League World Cup

Wembley will give England the advantage - O'Loughlin

ESPN staff
November 18, 2013
O'Loughlin knows New Zealand will provide tougher opposition than Ireland © Getty Images

Sean O'Loughlin believes playing at Wembley in the World Cup semi-final will give England the advantage over New Zealand.

England face the defending champions on Saturday as they bid to reach the final for the first time since 1995.

And after a lacklustre quarter-final performance against France, loose forward O'Loughlin knows his side must improve.

"We know we can get a lot better and I think playing at Wembley will get a lot more out of everyone," he said.

"I think the venue itself can get the better of you sometimes.

"But there are a lot of players in the squad who have been there - the Wigan, Warrington and Leeds lads have all played there [in Challenge Cup finals].

"I wouldn't say they're familiar with it, but they've been there and I think it could be a bit of an advantage."

New Zealand, who beat Australia in the final four years ago, eased through the group stage with victories over Samoa, France and Papua New Guinea before thrashing Scotland in the quarter-finals.

They are the tournaments leading scorers with 186 points, scoring 34 tries in the process.

"They're probably the most impressive team in the tournament," 30-year-old O'Loughlin added.

"If we perform like we did against France, we will probably get more points put on us than we did on Saturday. It was still a convincing win, but it was a bit disappointing performance-wise.

"We will have to raise our performance if we want to get to the final. We scored some nice tries but we gave up too much ball and at times we didn't defend well enough."

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