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Thursday 2nd
posted by Morning Star in Sport

HOOKING duo James Roby and Josh Hodgson said yesterday that they have the combination to unlock World Cup success for England.

Roby, who was recalled to the national team on the back of an impressive season with St Helens, justified the faith of coach Wayne Bennett with an eye-catching display in England’s 18-4 defeat by Australia in Melbourne.

Roby will win his 27th cap in Saturday’s second Group A game against Lebanon at the Sydney Football Stadium, where he will again share the dummy-half duties with former Hull KR skipper Hodgson.

“I came on at nine and, when Josh came back on, he played in the middle,” Roby said. “I stayed at hooker and Josh was running some plays. It worked pretty well.

“Josh is almost like an extra half-back in the middle of the field linking up with the forwards. It’s great to have some of his vision and skill in the middle.”

Hodgson, now with Canberra Raiders, has established himself as England’s first-choice No 9 but is delighted with the competition provided by the former Man of Steel.

“James is a great player,” Hodgson said. “We’re very fortunate in the English team to have quite a few good No 9s and it certainly keeps you on your toes in training. It makes you try to be the best you can be every day.

“We played together in [20]15 when we won the Test series against the Kiwis and we worked pretty well together then.”

Saturday’s international against Lebanon will be the first between the two countries but many of the Cedars’ players are familiar to England, most notably skipper Robbie Farah, who won eight caps for Australia before returning to his roots.

“I know what Robbie Farah is about,” Roby said. “I’ve played against him a few times and he’s been around a similar amount of time to myself.”