Sinfield: Test of character
England captain Kevin Sinfield has spoken of a siege mentality as his side looks to bounce back from the embarrassment of their defeat by Italy.
The England players went back into camp in Loughborough on Monday still licking their wounds from Saturday's shock 15-14 loss to the World Cup minnows.
And they will have little time regroup as face overwhelming favourites Australia in their opening group match at the Millennium Stadium this Saturday.
"It will test the character and quality of our squad," said Sinfield.
"I believe we can bounce back and will do. We'll do everything possible we can this week to fix things up and get out there on Saturday and put in a performance everyone can be proud of.
"It was a huge shock to the system but I think as a group we'll learn from that. Whether we wanted to create a siege mentality - I don't think we did at all - but I think we've probably got one now.
"The squad is strong mentally and we're certainly united, probably more so now on the back of that."
Sinfield concedes that it will take a remarkable transformation for England to topple the Kangaroos, who have lost three times to New Zealand in finals in the last eight years but have not been beaten by a British team since 2006.
However, the Leeds loose-forward says the defeat by Italy - and the subsequent heavy criticism - has galvanised his team.
"When you're fighting for something and you feel you've got a lot of people behind you and suddenly a lot of those blokes behind you start turning the guns inwards on you - justifiably so - you've got to do something about it as a group," he said.
"We're looking forward to this next six weeks and the challenges we're going to face. There is no question that we're facing a huge one this weekend against Australia but we'll roll our days up.
"You don't become a bad team overnight and we don't become bad players.
"We understand we've disappointed a lot of people but we're ready as a group to rip in and give it our best shot."