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England 60-6 Samoa: Highlights and talking points

England’s World Cup campaign had the best possible start as they defied the odds to utterly batter the favourites for the game Samoa with a 10-try demolition which vindicated many of Shaun Wane’s decisions.


To many the highlight of the World Cup is seeing the Haka, but Samoas own ceremonial dance the Manu Siva Tu’a may rival that at this year’s World Cup. Not only intimidating in general, but coupled with the calibre of player they have this was a message to England and to the rest of the tournament today. They got right into the faces of the English players especially NRL Grand Finalist Spencer Leniu.

England have the first chance, get something but it could have been more
England early on showed a willingness to stretch Samoa and got their rewards when Dom Young broke down the right outside Kallum Watkins. A few tackles later a George Williams grubber looked to have notched the first try of the game from Herbie Farnworth but he was adjudged to have knocked on. The incident did yield a penalty as Mike McMeeken was obstructed by Anthony Milford resulting in Tommy Makinson notching the two points.

No tries galore
After that Mike McMeeken thought he had scored after England had gone close through Chriss Hill on the back of brilliant play out of the back field. Then a Tom Burgess was the one being celebrated as he stretched out to score only for the video referee to again deny England for a knock on.

Spine combines to get try
England had been exceptional coming out of their own end, playing with great speed and on the back of another great set coming out of their own half led by plenty of strong carries from the backs, Sam Tomkins caused havoc. He then popped the ball to George Williams who tore through prior to sending Jack Welsby away for a lovely try.

Welsby shining
Straight after scoring, Welsby was creating with a cut out pass down the blind side released Dom Young down the right edge. He then out foxed Samoa fullback Joseph Suaali’i to score under the sticks to make it two outstanding tries.

Same combination same outcome
It was the exact same combination between Welsby and Young along with the same pass from the Saints man which yielded the same result. This time Young didn’t have to run 50 metres but instead needed a diving finish to get over in the corner.

Same combination damaging outcome
Welsby was having plenty of joy down the right but pushed it that bit far with a third cut out pass which was intercepted by Izack Tago who raised away to score a vital try for Samoa.

England stand tall defensively just before halftime
That try sparked something in Samoa and had England chasing their tail at the end of the half but crucially scrambled well to deny their opponents a second try. The effort to deny Suaali’i was particular.

Centres get over for vital tries
After a superb offload allowed George Williams to dribble clear, fittingly given the pitch, a blind side raid saw Kallum Watkins carve through to score. After that Samoa had Anthony Milford sin binned for a late hit on Tomkins leading to two more points before Herbie Farnworth dummied over to create a winning margin.

Makinson magic
In terms of attack, it he’d been a quiet day for Makinson till he broke down the left prior to teeing up Elliot Whitehead for his second before getting a try of his own from a lovely kick.

Burgess and Williams make it 10 tries
The tries kept coming as both Williams and Burgess got deserved tries the latter came after a Tomkins 40/20.

Talking Points:

Jack Welsby the past, present and future
Jack Welsby has already produced some of the most memorable moments in rugby league’s past, he is widely considered to be the future of British rugby league but today he showed he is the present of rugby league in this country. People have called upon St Helens’ stars to stand up and show their value on the international stage after dominating Super League for so long. Welsby stepped up today scoring a try and creating two more and that was just within the first half alone. He was brilliant to watch and exactly the guy England need  to keep talking about for the next week and the next decade. He’s the man who can end England’s wait for a World Cup.

If you’re Young enough you’re good enough
The old saying is if you’re good enough, you’re old enough especially when it comes to international sport. When you’re left with a choice of the experienced Ryan Hall, England’s all time leading try scorer, and Dom Young the youth of Young could easily deter you from picking him but not Shaun Wane. He put his faith in Young and it paid off with a pair of amazing tries. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for Young who carried the ball masterfully out of his own end all game.

England backs lead the way
England’s backs were outstanding from start to finish today. They scored the tries but we’re brilliant in getting England in the front foot from inside their own half with fast drives that caught Samoa off guard. The like if Young, Makinson, Watkins and Farnworth shone.

Samoa undercooked?
Samoa were favourites for the game today but that narrative didn’t seem to take into account the fact they had only a few training sessions going into the tournament. England had the better of them today but should they meet again in the semis, England should expect a different kind of battle.

Williams back to his best
This was the best George Williams had played for some time and it’s no surprise it came under the man who brought him through at Wigan in Shaun Wane. He was a constant running threat and organised well.

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