League: Sheens tips Inglis to shine

Australia coach Tim Sheens expects a refreshed Greg Inglis, left, to be at his brilliant best at the World Cup. Photo / Getty
Australia coach Tim Sheens expects a refreshed Greg Inglis, left, to be at his brilliant best at the World Cup. Photo / Getty

Australia coach Tim Sheens expects a refreshed Greg Inglis to be at his brilliant best at the World Cup as the South Sydney superstar looks to extend a remarkable run of success against England.

Inglis was plagued by a knee injury in the latter half of the NRL season and wasn't quite able get back to peak form.

But Sheens said he had arrived in the UK raring to go after almost a month's break since the Bunnies were knocked out of the finals.

"He's running freely and I thought he finished with Souths pretty strongly,'' Sheens said of Inglis, who tore a posterior cruciate ligament in Queensland's victory in State of Origin game three.

"He didn't have to play in the game last month (the Prime Minister's XI win over Papua New Guinea) because he's had plenty of football.

"If anything the rest has been really good for him.''

Inglis heads into Saturday's World Cup opener in Cardiff looking to extend a try-scoring streak against England that spans half a decade.

The 26-year-old has scored in his past five Tests against England and has eight tries in seven matches against the old enemy, including two fixtures against Great Britain.

Such a record means Inglis will hardly catch England by surprise in Saturday's crucial encounter, but Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith believes the co-hosts may be powerless to stop a player who thrives at the highest level.

"He's a world class player and has been for a long time,'' Smith told AAP. "I think he really likes the big stage, he performs well every time he pulls on Maroons jersey, every time he's got a Kangaroos jersey on.

"Let's hope he fires up for this first game and we can get him on a roll again.''

Sheens said Inglis was effectively the definition of a big-game player and his return to the centres for the national side allowed him to have a huge impact in games.

Inglis has excelled at fullback for the Rabbitohs but Melbourne star Billy Slater remains the first-choice No 1 for Australia.

"Obviously we'll feed him (Inglis) plenty of ball and he will be a key figure in our gameplan,'' Sheens said. "In saying that, I'm sure England and others will do everything they can to shut him down as well.

"He's a pretty hard man to keep quiet for 80 minutes though. As is a Sonny Bill Williams, a Sam Tomkins or a Sam Burgess. These sort of guys, they're going to get their chances. You've just got to limit them.''

While Inglis is assured one centre spot for the tournament opener, Sheens is tossing up between Michael Jennings, Brett Morris and Brent Tate for the other.

-AAP

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