CO-OPERATIVE Championship coach of the year Daryl Powell (left) is backing England to be successful in the forthcoming Gillette Four Nations tournament.
The Featherstone Rovers boss took up his “second” job this week when he joined up with the England Rugby League squad preparing to do battle against Australia, New Zealand and Wales.
Powell is assistant coach to Steve McNamara and is relishing the prospect of training the best players in the country and going head to head with the always powerful Aussies and the world champion Kiwis.
He said: “I’m looking forward to joining the England camp. We’ve got a pretty tough challenge in front of us and once we get everybody together we’ll be focused on building the group towards that challenge.
“We’ve certainly got the players to get the job done, but playing against the Australians and the New Zealanders will be a tough battle.
“It’s a significant challenge, but I feel we’ve got the players to be successful. We‘ve got some exciting prospects coming through.”
Powell was pleased to see one of his former young stars at Featherstone, Zak Hardaker, called into the England Knights squad this week and believes this could be the first of many call-ups for the player who successfully came through the Rovers junior ranks.
He added: “I’m delighted for Zak. Obviously he’s a young player who’s come through Featherstone and he’s done really well at Leeds.
“He stepped up magnificently at the back end of the season, playing in the centre, where he hasn’t spent too much time.
“He deserves his success. He’s worked hard, he’s got a lot of skill, a lot of speed and I expect him to be a real star in the future.
“Whenever we talk to young players coming to the club this is the vision we sell them that if you are good enough you will find your way through as Zak has done. Cream rises to the top and the best players will make it through.
“I think we’ve got an outstanding pathway for young players to develop and if they are good enough and they’ve got the potential to play at Super League then I think we’re in the right place to do that.”