England secured a 14-4 win against Tonga today meaning that Shaun Wane’s team tied up the series victory with a game to spare, however there’s no doubt that the third test at Headingley will be full of spice with the war of words between Wane and the Tongan Head Coach Kristian Woolf continuing in the post game interviews.
There was spice in the pre-match last week when it was revealed that Wane had simply described Woolf’s period at St Helens, during which he lifted three Grand Finals in three seasons, as ‘okay’. Wane also highlighted his bemusement at former England assistant Paul Wellens linking up with his former boss and joining the Tonga staff.
The back and forth continued in the post match with Woolf’s huge criticism of the pitch conditions and the refereeing of the ruck, something that Wane took exception to as he called out captain Addin Fonua-Blake’s comments as ‘disrespectful’.
Both men again went at it verbally through their post match interviews today, Shaun Wane more focused on what was the motivation for his side’s 14-4 victory than the actual players that won it, Wane was amped up and slammed the Tongan team’s comments stating: “the things what have been said to us this week from the opposition, some of it was disgraceful about how they didn’t win last week.”
When quizzed on this Tongan boss Woolf told the BBC: “Oh look it doesn’t really bother me to be honest. I speak the truth. There was a half a second or over half a second difference and we spoke about that before the game and the pitch was ordinary last week and that’s my old home ground, so that doesn’t really bother me if he’s upset by that.”
He remained intent on his side going to spoil the party in the third test, insistent that the series wasn’t over yet. He did however comment on the poor play of his team, particularly the last tackle play and lack of discipline.
Woolf explained: “Look it’s not over yet either and we’re not throwing the towel in just yet, we’ve got another game to go. We’ve got plenty to learn out of this week. We’re a young squad, so we’re only going to get better. And we’re going to turn up next week looking to win.”
“It was a good game of footy, it was a tight game of footy and England deserve full credit there. In such a tight game they got us being a little bit passive on one try and come up with a bit of brilliance on the other try and that was the difference.
“So we’ll take a lot of learnings from that. I thought we played better this week than what we did last week. England obviously did as well.
“At the end of the day our discipline let us down. We gave away too many penalties. We completed about 70% and when you do that you can’t win Test matches.”
“Our last play wasn’t great. Our halves and hookers have got to take a bit of responsibility there. Test match footies is about getting those plays right and you know you’re not going to get many opportunities to have a crack at their line. so when you get in a good field position you’ve got to make them pay a little bit.”