England’s journey towards France 2025 began as they put 11 tries past the hosts of the next World Cup today.
It was a dominant display as one Leeds star and one Warrington star shone the brightest.
1. Jack Welsby – 8
The St Helens star was tested under the high ball in the rain frequently. Lovely assist for Jake Wardle’s try and a good ball to start the move for Williams’ first try. Quality throughout if understated. Reminded everyone of his class with a late assist for Walker.
2. Ash Handley – 10
Just minutes into his first official cap for England, the Leeds Rhinos winger showed good speed to ground George Williams’ kick over the top. He took his second try excellently after a brilliant break saw him hand Williams a try on a plate. In the second half he notched another assist for Williams before completing his hat-trick as he and Williams formed a potent combination down the right. A hat-trick of tries, he would also get a hat-trick off assists as he set up Williams’ for his third. He set up all of Williams’ tries. He carried the ball well out of his own end which is key of an international winger.
3. Toby King – 7
Didn’t have the chance to express himself as much as he’d like in the first half as the ball often went straight to Handley. Steady away and more involved in the second half.
4. Jake Wardle – 8
Rattled when he and his winger broke the advertising hoarding crashing through it. However, shortly after that a lovely dummy allowed him to create a try for Harry Smith. The Wigan Warriors centre also scored himself.
5. Matty Ashton – 7
Carried the ball well out of his own end sadly we didn’t have a chance to see him in full flight although we did get a glimpse at the start of the second half but sadly didn’t result in a try. Was unlucky not to get a penalty try in the second half. Most of the good ball went down the other wing.
6. George Williams – 10
Playing behind a dominant middle, he was often given space out of the back to really flourish and he did with a superb attacking display to crown his first game as England captain as the Warrington Wolves star shined in the wet at his side’s stadium and that continued in the second half as he scored a second and created a hat-trick try for Handley prior to setting up a lovely try for Kai Pearce-Paul. Deserving of a hat-trick himself, it came after another Handley break.
7. Harry Smith – 9
Understated display from Wigan’s halfback. Often giving space to others and kicking well. Notched a deserved try. Went off in the second half.
8. Ethan Havard – 7
He took his try very well and was steady away if not outstanding. Solid again in his second stint.
9. Danny Walker – 8
Exceptional 40/20 which is something we are seeing more and more of. As England dominated the middle he expressed himself more. Both stints saw him prove a real threat. Finished the game with a try.
10. Tom Holroyd – 8
Really hard to handle in his first stint in the middle of the field. Got England off to a good start. Was good again in his second stint.
11. Kai Pearce-Paul – 8
We didn’t see the typically devastating KPP today as he was tasked with the hard work in the wet. Was key in England’s second try before supporting a lovely break to score England’s ninth.
12. Matty Nicholson – 7
Like KPP, he was doing the hard stuff so we didn’t see the dazzling side of his game much.
13. Morgan Smithies – 8
Worked incredibly hard and was really physical. A lovely assist for Havard’s try showed he has the ability to bring skill to the 13 role for England.
14. Jez Litten – 7
On a day celebrating Rob Burrow, the hooker produced a Burrow like dart in the second half as he looked threatening at nine. He did some minutes at seven too.
15. James Harrison – 7
Came on and kept England rolling down the middle of the field picking up where Holroyd left off. Played some at 13.
16. Ben Currie – 7
Came on when all the hard work had been done but looked strong in the second half.
17. Tyler Dupree – 7
Like Harrison, kept things going in the engine room with some brilliant drives.