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How England can win World Cup final

Play the 'British way' and leave nothing in the tank.

That's the message for England from two former greats ahead of their Rugby League World Cup final against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

England's last win over the Kangaroos was in the opening game of the 1995 World Cup - a 20-16 boilover at Wembley. Since then it has been 12 straight losses, including the final of that tournament.

England has to play a near-perfect game if they are to bring home their first rugby league trophy as a nation. They need to stick to their style, not try and copy the Kangaroos.

"Both sides will be looking to do that," said England assistant coach and former captain Denis Betts, who played in the 1995 finals. 

"Completion rate high, attacking success high. All those clichés coaches talk about.

"We've got to be us as well. We're not going to win this competition or game by being trying to emulate anyone else."

England showed they can merge the best of both in this tournament: miserly defence with some attacking flair. 

They've only conceded a maximum of 18 points (against Australia in game one, and against Tonga in the semi-final) while scoring from different ends of the field in their four wins. Their total running metres compare well to Australia's attack-laden side - England's 8,944 just below Australia's 9,146 metres.

Betts says his players need to approach this game as the biggest of their careers.

"I have to bring my best game, I have to play the game I always wanted to play when I was seven years of age and pulled my boots on," he said. 

"There's no second chances. You can't go home (in second-place). I know for myself, you can't sit there for 22 years thinking 'I wish I played better'."

A World Cup win would make up for the anguish of England's 1992 and 1995 final losses.

"I played in 1992 and we were a try away (from winning) right in the last five minutes," he said 

"In 1995, we had the best opportunity. I hadn't been involved in the national side since 2000, and to be part of this group and this journey that these lads have been on and get to the final, yeah, it could make up for it in spades."

Garry Schofield has a simple philosophy on how Sam Burgess's team can win. The former Golden Boot winner and Great Britain captain thinks England need to chance their arm in attack.

"Let the players play how they want to play," he said. 

"Don't restrict them or the Aussies will hammer us. That's what we've been doing since '82, when the Kangaroos came over (and won heavily).

"Let's not attack 20 or 30 metres out. Let's look to attack 50 or 60 metres out, and play a little bit more away from the opposition try-line and ask some questions."

What sort of advice has Betts' given his team ahead of the decider?

"Win," he said. 

Simple, but effective. Just how England need to be.

This article first appeared on NRL.com
 

Andrew Marmont‌ | @SportSideways
Melbourne Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com 

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