Stefan Ratchford knows only victory for England over France will do

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Stefan Ratchford admits England will have no excuses for not completing the job when they meet France in their last World Cup group game on Sunday.

England, who still technically need a point to secure a quarter-final spot, stepped into the unknown a week ago when they played a first international against Lebanon but Ratchford says they will know exactly what to expect from Aurelien Cologini’s men at Perth’s Rectangular Stadium.

The French team will bear little resemblance to the one that lost 40-6 in their last meeting with England in Avignon just over a year ago but it contains nine players from Super League club Catalans Dragons as well Ratchford’s Warrington team-mate Benjamin Jullien and St Helens stand-off Theo Fages.

“France are a lot more well known to us than Lebanon were,” Ratchford said at the England captain’s run at Fremantle Oval.

“There are a lot of familiar faces, the majority of the team are Catalans boys and we know them. We’ve done our homework on them as we do every team.

“They showed last week against Australia they’re no rollovers and when we played them before the Four Nations last year, it was really tight early on.

“We know it will be tough but we’re confident that, if we do the right things, we will get the right result.”

Ratchford will win his fourth cap in the unusual position of wing after deputising for an injured Jonny Lomax at full-back in the 29-10 win over Lebanon.

Gareth Widdop will be at full-back against the French as coach Wayne Bennett rings the changes in order to give all members of his 24-man squad a game before the knockout stages.

Ryan Hall, Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson, Chris Heighington and Kallum Watkins are being rested but Ratchford is confident the reserves will ensure there is continuity throughout the team.

“We are all used to a programme that we’ve been running,” he said. “We’ve come really close together, we’re almost like a regular team rather than your national team.

“We’re a really tight group and whatever 17 goes out there, they are fully backed by the lads that aren’t out there.”

Assistant coach Denis Betts does not anticipate any late changes and says Lomax, who was a withdrawal from last week’s game after damaging a calf in training, is on course to return for the quarter-final, along with forward Sam Burgess.

“We are giving everyone a chance in the group stages to impress,” Betts said. “The lads before them have already put a game down but it does not mean the lads who have come in cannot play better.

“We’re looking forward to doing a good job against France. They have not got the biggest of sides so they will be looking to play a bit.

“We will just do what we have practised. It sounds boring but we are here to try and be in a position to win the competition.”

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