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Smith ready to end Cup wait

Andrew Bryan NRL.com Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 11:00 AM

Cameron Smith has won just about everything in rugby league, except for the World Cup. Copyright: NRL Photos

Australian captain Cameron Smith has won almost every trophy imaginable in rugby league.

From NRL premierships and World Club Championships with the Melbourne Storm to numerous State of Origin titles, Test match wins and Four Nations victories, Smith has achieved almost every accolade in the game.

The last thing for him to achieve is an elusive World Cup.

"It is the only thing that I haven't won," Smith acknowledges to NRL.com.

"I haven't been a part of a side that have been a successful World Cup winning side.

"We came close in 2008 but fell short and New Zealand were deserved winners of that Cup. It would be nice to take it out this year, there is no doubt about that. It would be nice to say that you are a World Cup winner, particularly when you have been given the privilege of leading the Kangaroos."

"If you're talking about anyone having an x-factor in their side, it's Sam Tomkins."

Speaking at the launch of the World Cup at Old Trafford, Smith said Australia's opening clash with host nation England would be crucial to the Kangaroos' campaign.

"Yeah it is, and given the quality of football sides in this competition it's probably even more important," he said. "We play Fiji in our second pool game; they're a great side and have a lot of NRL players in their team, headed by Petero Civoniceva who didn't play in the NRL this year but has got plenty of experience.

"It's going to be a tough game each week. It doesn't matter what nation you play in this competition, it's always going to be a tough game.

"But in our pool it's probably the hardest one first up in England. They're playing on their home turf, they're going to be really fired up for this comp and it's going to be a tough game.

"It's going to be pro-England crowd, we know that. We're expecting it to go all the way to the 80th minute. We know they're an improved side since the last time we played them in 2011, so we're preparing to take this all the way to the final siren."

Smith said the Kangaroos' defence will need to be switched on to nullify the effect of superstar fullback Sam Tomkins, who scored twice in England's warm-up game against Italy.

"They've got threats all over the park. A lot of people talk about their physicality and the size of their forward pack but they've got a great backline as well who can cause you some damage if you're not on your game," Smith said.

"If you're talking about anyone having an x-factor in their side it's Sam Tomkins. He's a wonderful player who's just moved on to the NRL – he's going to be playing with the Warriors next year – and it shows the kind of player he is. He's obviously played extremely well for several years in the Super League and now he wants to test himself in the NRL which he's more than capable of doing.

"Every time we've played against him he's always challenged us and asked a lot of questions of our defence. We need to be on defensively to give us a chance of winning."

Smith said the tournament is a great platform to build the game internationally.

"I think the World Cup is great for international rugby league, given that you have got some developing nations playing here who are going to be very competitive," he said.

"I just met a couple of guys from the USA Tomahawks, and it is nice to see countries like the USA fielding a rugby league side and in the World Cup.

"It is going to be pretty interesting to see how they go; they had a great win in their warm-up game against France. So it is really good time of the year for rugby league and it's great to see the rugby league community come together.

"It's going to be a really fun eight weeks."