MATTY Lees knows he’s better prepared to help England clinch world titles and “prove people wrong” thanks to Shaun Wane and as a club world champion.
The St Helens mainstay knows both sides of the Test coin, having picked up three victories at last year’s tournament in which the nation scored 200 points and conceded 16 goals.
But he was a spectator as Wane’s men lost an agonizing semi-final to Samoa 27-26 in overtime.
With Rugby Football League bosses opting to stay with Wane until the 2025 edition in France following a review, Lees believes things can get started.
And taking part in the exploits of the Saints 13-12 World Club Challenge at the home of NRL champion Penrith will help – as they have goals on their heads.
He said as he lines up for a spot in next month’s mid-season test against France: “It’s great that Shaun is staying as you want to keep things the same.
“He gets straight to the point, which is what I like in a coach. He will tell you directly and tell you little things that you need to improve. If he’s not happy with something you know about it – that keeps the standards high.
“He’ll learn from the things that happened at the World Cup and hopefully we’ll take it a step further with every game we play.
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“As a nation we need to get international caps to get better – we really need to head towards the 2025 World Cup and prove people wrong by showing we’re the best team in the world.
“We always try to go one step further and we were absolutely disappointed that we weren’t involved in the final. We will all learn a lot and as long as we keep the squad similar we will build.
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“I’ve only played three World Cup games, but I’ve learned a lot from it. It’s a huge step up from playing the Super League weekly.
“And with people like Samoa, Tonga and other nations, you’re up against bigger bodies, you have to adapt and learn new skills to beat them.
“We proved we are a lot fitter than them and I took that with me at the World Club Challenge. That gave me great faith and playing these tests helped because it reminded me of them, they were bigger bodies.
“Now every team is getting better and they want to beat Saints – every game is like a grand final and teams will see us win the World Club Challenge and think, ‘You’ve got a marker on your head.’
“We are a big target.”
Lees and Saints were brought back to earth with a bump as their homecoming after their Aussie exploits ended in a 25-24 loss to Leeds and spirits rose when referee Chris Kendall sent off Konrad Hurrell and Sione Mata’utia and Curtis Siren sinned.
But the 25-year-old believes that was another lesson – keep calm and move on.
Lees added: “It’s never nice to lose but we will learn a lot from it. There were a few decisions that didn’t go our way – we mustn’t let that fool us.
“Towards the end of the game there were a few hotheads, so we have to keep calm.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7551631/england-world-cup-rugby-league-st-helens/ Matty Lees backs England manager Shaun Wane to urge the team to ‘prove people wrong’