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Assessing England vs Tonga attendance

Thanks to tries from Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves centre Toby King, Hull KR halfback Mikey Lewis and a brace of tries for Tom Johnstone, England picked up a 22-18 win over Tonga.

It was their first meeting since they met in a pulsating and very similar World Cup semi-final in 2017.

It also marked the beginning of a new era of international rugby with the powers that be looking to shine a great light on it.

But did the attendance of 12,898 at the Totally Wicked Stadium reflect that?

First and foremost it does show interest because at the end of the day that is an excellent attendance.

However, according to reports, the RFL were hoping for about a thousand more fans. Being 102 short of 13,000 no doubt hurts as well.

We should also give credit to the Tongan fans who attended the game of which there were about 200.

After the match, Tonga Head Coach Kristian Woolf paid tribute to them saying:

“Oh look it’s great, we’re really grateful for that. This group’s done so many amazing things over the years and the majority of that’s been done in front of our home crowd in areas where we’re really comfortable and conditions that we’re comfortable with and refereeing that we’re comfortable with and everything else.

“That was part of the challenge and part of the desire to want to come over here was to do it in uncomfortable circumstances that’s where you get to really find out about a group and the toughness in the group and all the things that come with that.

“So it’s great though to have that little bit of support there and one thing about Tongan fans, they’re always vocal, they’re always loud, they make themselves known that they’re there. So we really appreciate them being there.

“No, it definitely makes you feel proud to be a Tongan where you can be halfway across the world and you’ve got nearly half a stand full of Tongans playing Tongan music and singing Tongan hymns. I love our fans and next week we’re going to put on a performance that they’re proud of.”

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