England 26-4 Tonga: Highlights, talking points and player ratings

England wrapped up the Autumn series with a 26-4 win over Tonga in another physical encounter at Headingley Stadium. 

Tries from Harry Newman, Ben Currie, Matty Ashton and the retiring Elliott Whitehead were enough to once again guide Shaun Wane’s side to victory over the tourists as they secured the clean sweep.


Ashton inches away from sneaking a try

Much had been made of George Williams’ return to the side this week; but he nearly set up the first try. His cheeky kick took an awkward bounce and nearly fell into his Warrington Wolves team mate Matty Ashton’s hands, but the winger was narrowly beaten to the ball by Will Penisini.

Ben Currie held up

Quick thinking from England nearly got them on the scoreboard. The retiring Elliott Whithead sent Ben Currie over the line, but the Warrington Wolves forward-who was playing in the centres today-was held up over the line on the last tackle.

Currie grabs the first try

The Warrington Wolves man would not be denied twice, as he scored the first try of the afternoon. Lovely play through the middle from Shaun Wane’s side broke the Tongan line, and Wigan Warriors’ Harry Smith was able to find Ben Currie, who wrong-footed the covering defender to score.

Matty Ashton adds England’s second

In a similar vain to his Warrington teammate, Matty Ashton wouldn’t be denied a second time as he grabbed England’s second try. A beautiful offload from Leeds Rhinos’ centre Harry Newman found Ashton in space and he added his third try of this Autumn series.

Double yellow card

The closing exchanges of the first half saw England’s Matty Lees and Tonga’s Keon Kolomatangi sent for 10 minutes on the naughty step. Lees saw yellow for a hair pull, and Kolomatangi was carded for taking it into his own hands.

Elliott Whitehead scores on final England appearance 

The retiring Canberra Raider rounded off a superb team try for England’s third try of the game. Jack Welsby sent a lovely floated ball out wide to Tom Johnstone, who broke down the wing. The Catalans winger then connected with Harry Newman, who put it on a plate for Whitehead to stroll in for the try.

Konrad Hurrell binned 

St Helens centre Konrad Hurrell was sent to the sin-bin, but he arguably could have seen red.

Whitehead denied his second 

The Canberra Raiders forward cleverly pounced on the loose ball in-goal, but his try was ruled out by the TMO.

Harry Newman adds England’s fourth 

Not long after Whitehead’s try was ruled out, Harry Newman scored his first try in an England shirt. An inch-perfect cross-field kick from Wigan Warriors Harry Smith fell straight into the Leeds Rhinos centre’s hands, and his momentum carried him over the line to score.

Tonga finally break through 

This definitely wasn’t Tonga’s finest showing, but they did break through the English defence as Eliesa Katoa powered over to add their first points of the match.

Talking points: 

More on-field altercations 

The series has already solidified the rivalry between the sides, but there were yet more on-field scuffles-including two yellow cards. The next time the sides meet it will definitely be a spicy affair if this series is anything to go by.

Williams vs Lewis 

George Williams’ return was always going to displace one of either Harry Smith or Mikey Lewis, and unfortunately for the Hull KR halfback he was the unlucky man. However this series has shown he can perform on the biggest stage, and whilst Williams was good on his return, there is definitely a battle for the six shirt going forwards.

England secure the series whitewash

Shaun Wane had been very open about his desire to win the series 3-0, and his team responded to his call as they put in a dominant display to round off the series at Headingley.

England save best for last 

The series had already been wrapped up before today’s third test, but England put in their best performance of the series today.

Player ratings:


1: Jack Welsby-7

2: Tom Johnstone-7

3: Harry Newman-8

4: Ben Currie-7

5: Matty Ashton-7

6: George Williams-6

7: Harry Smith-8

8: Tom Burgess-7

9: Daryl Clark-7

10: Matty Lees-5

11: John Bateman-9

12: Elliott Whitehead-8

13: Robbie Mulhern-6


14: Danny Walker-6

15: Tyler Dupree-6

16: Chris Hill-6

17: Mike McMeeken-6


1: Will Hopoate-6

2: Will Penisini-7

3: Konrad Hurrell-5

4: Moses Suli-6

5: Tolutau Koula-6

6: Tui Lolohea-6

7: Isaiya Katoa-6

8: Hame Sele-6

9: Siliva Havili-6

10: Felise Kaufusi-6

11: Tyson Frizell-7

12: Haumole Olakau’atu-7

13: Keon Koloamatangi-5


14: Latu Fainu-6

15: Moeaki Fotuaika-6

16: Eliesa Katoa-7

17: Siua Wong-6