England have secured the series win by defeating Tonga in wet conditions at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium with a 14-4 win, the victory coming just six days after Tonga boss Kristian Woolf bemoaned the conditions and the pitch during the first test.
It’s been a tough series for Tonga who have struggled with the English weather and the conditions of the pitch, Woolf particularly upset last week about the surface at his former team St Helens’ stadium. In his post match interview he referenced the poor underfoot conditions and complained of the ruck speed set by English referee Liam Moore.
Tonga lost that game 22-18 after having gone in level at half time whereas today’s victory was more dominant for England and saw Shaun Wane’s side run out to a 14-0 lead before commanding territory and playing to the English conditions incredibly well.
That’s something that’s been picked up on by former Man of Steel and ex Great Britain player Jackson Hastings. The ex Salford and Wigan man shone in Super League and clearly learned how to play the English conditions well, however he took to social media to express how they wouldn’t favour Tonga with Wane’s men using them to their advantage.
Posting on X, Hastings stated: “England playing the conditions well here. Sounds so obvious but you just can’t play the same in the UK.”
Those comments were echoed by Tonga’s boss Woolf who explained that poor last tackle play by his side cost them, as did discipline. Speaking to the BBC Woolf explained the issues his side struggled with that ultimately cost them the game.
He said: “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.”
The loss meant that Tonga have lost the series now and will be playing for pride in game three at Headingley where the conditions may still remain against them given the impending English winter. Despite that Woolf outlined his team’s desire to right the wrong of the first two tests.
“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.”