McNamara wary of Wigan

  • Last Updated: January 15 2014, 8:06 GMT

England coach Steve McNamara is warning Sydney Roosters that Wigan will hit the ground running when they arrive in Sydney for next month's World Club Challenge.

Steve McNamara: Wigan will be tough for the Roosters
Steve McNamara: Wigan will be tough for the Roosters

McNamara this week took up a two-year contract with the Australian champions, where he is assistant to head coach Trent Robinson, and immediately set his sights on their eagerly awaited showdown with Shaun Wane's men at the Sydney Football Stadium on February 22.

That will be the Roosters' first hit-out as a team since they beat Manly Sea Eagles in last October's NRL Grand Final, whereas Wigan will already have begun the defence of their Super League title and played a warm-up game against New Zealand Warriors by then.

Wigan, who were on Wednesday returning from a 10-day training camp in Florida, have been given permission to bring forward their opening league game against Huddersfield by a week to February 7 to give them more time to prepare for their clash with the Roosters in the first World Club Challenge to be held in Australia for 20 years.

"I've been talking to the people out here about the importance that English clubs put on the World Club Challenge," McNamara said.

"It's a huge fixture for everybody involved and I know that Wigan are preparing extremely well for it. They're coming out here to get the job done."

McNamara, who is to continue as national coach on a part-time basis ahead of the 2014 Four Nations Series, insists the Roosters will be taking the World Club Challenge just as seriously as their visitors but admits they may not be as well prepared.

"We only came back in this week so we will probably be a little bit behind Wigan," he said. "They are obviously starting the Super League season a week earlier than the rest and will be up and running in just over three weeks' time.

"Wigan will be playing a couple of trial games, whereas we won't. We'll actually send some of the squad to Auckland for the Nines and the rest of us will go to Newcastle to play against the Knights so they won't play together as a team until they play against Wigan."

McNamara expects Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who was a big hit at the World Cup for New Zealand, to be fit for the Challenge despite suffering a leg injury in the final.

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