Journalists across England are struggling to find new ways of explaining just how good England were yesterday.
The win over Samoa, who went into the game as favourites and tipped as one of the five teams capable of winning the World Cup, was said to be England, or Great Britain’s, best performance since 2006 when GB shocked Australia in Australia.
England ran in 10 tries as they battered the Samoans 60-6. For an England team written off by the bookies, the media and others who claimed boss Shaun Wane was picking the wrong team, it was vindication.
But what does Wane do with the team now? He confirmed that those who missed the game against Samoa would play against France next week meaning the week after against Greece we will begin to see what Wane believes is his strongest team.
The big question is does the star player who missed the game yesterday, Wigan’s John Bateman who was suspended, get into England’s strongest team after they did such a good job without him against Samoa with Mike McMeeken and Elliot whitehead did a terrific job in the role.
Someone with coaching experience, Lois Forsell who guided Leeds Rhinos women to Grand Final glory this year, gave her thoughts on it: “It’s difficult. We had that in the semi-final against St Helens, so heading into the Grand Final against York we made one change due to concussion. It’s really hard to force your way back in after they played that well.
“John Bateman is a class player, so it’s going to be a headache for Shaun.”
But for St Helens legend and a former England backrow Jon Wilkin, it was simple: “He can’t get back in can he based on today’s performance. It will be very difficult for him to get back in.”
We will have to wait and see until later in the tournament to see England’s strongest team in the mind of Wane.