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Italians spring World Cup shock

ENGLAND coach Steve McNamara said a shock defeat at the hands of Italy in a World Cup warm-up game could be just the wake-up call his side needed ahead of Sunday morning's opening game with Australia at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

England was upstaged 15-14 at Salford by an Italian side captained by Anthony Minichiello and including fellow NRL stars Aidan Guerra, Mark Minichiello and Anthony Laffranchi.

McNamara said his charges had not been focussed.

"I'm glad it's happened this week in a way rather than next week," he said.

"I'm sure we will be a whole lot better for it next week."

England, ranked third in the world, trailed 12-4 at one stage in the first half thanks to tries from Laffranchi and Parramatta hooker Dean Parata, before two Sam Tomkins (pictured) tries put the home side ahead.

But a Ray Nasso penalty and Newcastle Knights' Josh Mantellato's drop goal 90 seconds from full-time sealed the win.

England's defeat followed France's shock 22-18 loss to the USA Tomahawks, coached by former Broncos favourite Terry Matterson.


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