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England have class to be Australia’s biggest rivals, even without Sam Burgess | Aaron Bower

Despite defeat in World Cup opener and loss of their key back-rower, Wayne Bennett’s men have laid down a marker for the rest of the tournament

Wayne Bennett had spoken all week of how a spirited defeat in the opening game of the World Cup would leave him buoyed over England’s chances for the remainder of the tournament. In the end, that is exactly what England’s head coach got – albeit with the caveat that one of his standout players, Sam Burgess, sustained an injury that will rule him out for much of the tournament.

The result of their opening match in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup may well have had a familiar feel to it for England but there were at least positives to be taken. “They’ll go a long way in this competition,” said Australia’s Billy Slater of England after the match.

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