Wayne Bennett was satisfied enough after after making a winning start as England league coach with an experimental side missing key players.

With skipper Sam Burgess and five players from the Super League grand final a fortnight ago not considered for selection, the Broncos super coach handed out five new caps for the clash against France -- and his new-look side side responded with a 40-6 victory in Avignon.

It was just the workout England needed ahead of the Four Nations, although Bennett already had drafted his team to face the Kiwis at Huddersfield next Sunday morning (NZ time).

"I thought we handled it pretty well without blowing them away," Bennett said. "I thought France tried really hard, they were really competitive and had good ball control.


"I was pretty pleased with all the new caps, I wasn't disappointed with anybody tonight.

"But it hasn't made my job of picking a side for next week tougher -- I already had an idea of my team to face New Zealand anyway."

Leeds winger Ryan Hall extended his record test try haul to 28 in as many appearances with two first-half touchdowns to put England on their way to a 22-6 halftime lead.

Five-eighth Gareth Widdop scored his side's seventh and final try and kicked a sixth goal to bring up a century of points for his country.

The only disappointment for England was the loss of acting captain James Graham, who was the victim of a late and dangerous tackle five minutes from the end and will have to face a concussion test ahead of the Kiwis game.

"He's a bit sick in there but the doctor says he should be OK," Bennett said.

Bennett denied accusations from new France head coach Aurelien Cologni that England had disrespected their hosts by flying in and out of Avignon on the day of the game, and believes their performance bodes well for the future.

"There was no suggestion that we were trying to be smart," Bennett said. "It was never mentioned to me or anybody else on the staff about being here early to promote the game.

"I thought it was great to be here. Watching France today, you've got to be optimistic about what they can do going forward if they can just hold it together and try to build from here.

"They kept turning up, we just had better players. That's a fact of life."

Cologni, who has replaced Englishman Richard Agar, was encouraged by his team's efforts, which was in sharp contrast to their 84-4 rout in Leigh 12 months earlier, and believes the final score flattered the visitors.

Terry Campese bounced back from Hull KR's relegation from Super League to mastermind Italy's 62-14 win over Serbia in Belgrade, which ended the Serbs' hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Former Canberra NRL skipper Campese, who has left Hull Kingston Rovers to rejoin his junior Australian club Queanbeyan Blues, made an impressive debut for the Azzurri.

Campese, 32, helped create a hat-trick of tries for winger Richard Lepori inside the opening 12 minutes before going over himself from a quickly taken tap penalty just before the hour.

Rugby union international and centre Mirco Bergamasco, also making his international league bow, kicked seven goals from 11 attempts for the Italians, who will face Wales next weekend in a World Cup qualifying pool A decider in Monza.