England peaked early, says Jon Wilkin & didn’t “understand the gravity” of semi-final as Leeds Rhinos legend calls performance “naive”

As with any exit from a major tournament where there was a chance of winning it, England’s 27-26 defeat to Samoa was met with something of a post-mortem.

That was the case on BBC as ex-St Helens man Jon Wilkin suggested England peaked too soon in the tournament: “Victory and defeat so close together like that, that’s sport isn’t? You’ve got the anguish of defeat and the euphoria of victory as a player it’s either the biggest blessing or the worst day of your life and those England players will be in a bad place.

“They’ve had an exceptional tournament and done some things really well but they’ve just got things the wrong way round. They produced their biggest performance first up.

“That said, it took some execution to finish this off.”

He also said that England didn’t understand the “gravity of the situation” in Golden Point: “Golden Point summed up England’s performance today. Making errors, not quite understanding the gravity of the situation and trying to play their way out of trouble.”

This came as Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Peacock described England as “naive” in extra time.

Meanwhile, former Samoan international and Wakefield Trinity coach Willie Poching believed it was the missed opportunities which cost England: “Just the opportunities they’ll regret not taking and the mistakes they made.”