England prepared in the best possible way for the World Cup with a comprehensive win over Fiji at Salford despite the weather.
There was no shock like in 2013 against Italy as the likes of Dom Young shone for England in a strong performance for Wane’s men as nine players scored tries.
Young debut try
Anyone who follows the NRL knows that Dom Young doesn’t let too many opportunities pass him by. After giving Fiji a bit of a let off having knocked on over the line earlier in the game, Young produced a lovely finish off the back of some very quick hands especially from skipper George Williams. Jack Welsby was the man who provided the assist.
Another debutant another try scorer
Following the opening try for debutant Dom Young, fellow debutant Andy Ackers showed great pace and awareness to dummy over from a brilliant Luke Thompson offload. Thompson had only just entered the field.
Young devastates Fiji with moments of magic
When we talk about wingers and tries, it’s usually praising them for scoring, but Young, having scored earlier, created two tries in two minutes. The first saw him offload inside for centre for Kallum Watkins to power over after a lovely Jack Welsby pass. Then a brilliant Watkins ball tipped on by Williams to Young, Young turned the ball back inside to Williams to score.
Batchelor pounces to make it three tries in three minutes
Joe Batchelor hadn’t been on the field long when a Marc Sneyd kick was fumbled straight into his hands to score.
Thompson try thanks to terrific Sneyd kick
A delicate kick, another proving why Sneyd was selected by Shaun Wane in the England squad, saw England score the first try of the second half as the halfback’s grubber led to a try for Luke Thompson.
Forwards leading the way
Shortly after Thompson had gotten on the scoreboard, fellow forward Mike McMeeken followed suit with a lovely line on the back of a short McIlorum ball to crash over. Shortly after, Mike Cooper got in on the act. After a lovely 40/20, Cooper took a short ball from Sneyd to score.
Three doesn’t go into two
Perhaps the most difficult position to predict what Shaun Wane will do against Samoa next week is the wing spot. Shaun Wane has a choice of England’s greatest ever try scorer in Ryan Hall, a former Golden Boot winner in Tommy Makinson and bright young winger Dom Young. Tonight did very little to ease the decision for Wane with both Young and Hall looking very good whilst Makinson is perhaps nailed on given the form he has shown at St Helens over the last five years.
Ackers makes number nine jersey his own
One of the big questions going into tonight’s game was who would start at nine for England and Shaun Wane went with debutant Andy Ackers. The Salford hooker looked in command of the game from kick-off, bossing things behind the ruck and looking a real threat. It will be hard for Michael McIlorum to wrestle the nine jersey off him. That said, McIlorum made his own claim when he came onto the field with a lovely assist for McMeeken’s try.
England kicking game on point
Many questioned the decision to include Marc Sneyd in the England squad, but the kicking game he and Williams conjured up was very effective. It looked dangerous again and again and led to a try for Joe Batchelor prior to one for Luke Thompson. Meanwhile, a 40/20 led to a try for Cooper prior to the 60-minute mark. At the highest level, having the ability to score tries from kicks is a difference maker and it’s one Sneyd and co could bring to the tournament.
Could poor weather help England
Most of the time we spend the year dreaming of sun, but England fans could be dreaming of rain and cold as tonight we saw how those kinds of conditions could favour an England side relatively accustomed to playing in grim conditions and especially maximising them with a strong kicking game as we saw from Sneyd. Perhaps this could help their World Cup hopes.
England Player Ratings:
1 Jack Welsby – 8
2 Dom Young – 9
3 Kallum Watkins – 8
4 Herbie Farnworth – 7
5 Ryan Hall – 7
6 George Williams – 7
7 Marc Sneyd – 8
8 Chris Hill – 7
9 Andy Ackers – 8
10 Mike Cooper – 7
11 Elliot Whitehead – 7
12 Mike McMeeken – 8
13 Victor Radley – 7
14 Liam Marshall – 7
15 Sam Powell – 6
16 Luke Thompson – 8
17 Tom Burgess – 7
18 Michael McIlorum – 8
19 Joe Batchelor – 7
20 Harry Smith – 6
21 Jake Wardle – 7
22 Kai Pearce-Paul – 7