sport

Watkins keeps England focus

England centre Kallum Watkins insists Steve McNamara's squad will not be underestimating the challenges posed by France and Wales.

The nations square up in the Autumn Series, a tournament in which England are expected to prevail ahead of next year's World Cup.

Watkins, who helped the Leeds Rhinos retain the Super League title, knows England must prepare for the games as though they are tackling the likes of Australia and New Zealand.

McNamara's squad are currently preparing for the games in South Africa and the powerful 21-year-old believes their preparations for the game have been first class.

"English rugby league is in good shape and we have some great players ready for the pressures of the international game," Watkins, who is in line to make his full debut against Wales on October 27, told Super League's official website.

"We have to prepare to the best we can be and even though we are not facing Australia or New Zealand we cannot underestimate the Welsh and the French. They will want to really give it a go and try to upset us. They have nothing to lose.

"I didn't know what to expect when I came out to South Africa. The facilities where we are staying are top class and everything is looked after, from what we eat to how we train. The camp is spot on and very intense.

"I have found training quite tough. The biggest thing is getting back into the swing of things after the end of the season. I had some time off after the Grand Final and then you ramp it up again when you come out here. Mark (Bitcon) our conditioner has told us that when we get back to England we should really feel the benefits of the hard slog out here."