England captain Kevin Sinfield has sprung to the defence of the Rugby Football League over their decision to organise an alternate tri-nations series.
The autumn international series, featuring England, Wales and France, was a replacement for the traditional Four Nations, which was forced into cold storage until 2014 after Australia and New Zealand opted to give their players an extended off-season ahead of World Cup year.
Former Great Britain international Garry Schofield is among those who have criticised the tournament, claiming it will do more harm than good, but Sinfield believes the opportunity for coach Steve McNamara to get his squad together for a month was too good to miss, saying: "I think it's been a great decision."
He added: "It would have been quite easy for Steve and the RFL to wrap some people up in cotton wool and try to do the same as the Aussies and Kiwis by putting your feet up for a little while.
"The harmony and the togetherness of the group is growing every day, the strides we're making as a team have been fantastic and we get to have some games at the end of it. We don't get enough time as it is to play together and the fact that we've got another run this week in a final is huge for all of us."
England have so far proved far too good for both the Welsh and the French, running up 124 points in two matches, and will go into Sunday's final at the City of Salford Stadium against France as overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy.
McNamara is set to pick from a full-strength 24-man squad after second-rower Gareth Ellis was told he will not face any further action over the tackle that left France full-back Cyril Stacul badly concussed during last Saturday's 44-6 win at Craven Park.
France coach Aurelien Cologni blasted the decision of the match-review panel, claiming that Ellis, who was put on report for the incident, ought to have been given at least a one-match ban.
Stacul was one of three injured players sent back to France to recover, with Teddy Sadaoui and Julien Bousquet making the opposite journey to take their places in a reduced 19-man squad.
Les Tricolores captain Olivier Elima admits the loss of Stacul, along with Catalan Dragons forwards Gregory Mounis and Mickael Simon, has added to the size of his side's task, saying: "We've got three professional players going back and being replaced by part-time players, so the odds aren't going to get better but we've come here to do a job and we're going to keep believing."