Jon Wilkin and James Graham think ‘Player of the Match’ went to the wrong England player after the big win over Samoa

England’s World Cup campaign got off to the perfect start as they produced a stunning display to dismantle the much-fancied Samoa 60-6 at St James’ Park

It was a near-perfect performance from Shaun Wane’s team, with many standout individual displays across the whole team.

Dom Young and Elliott Whitehead both crossed for two tries in the rout, however Victor Radley was named the BBC’s Player of the Match by commentator Jonathan Davies.

After the game, Davies’ fellow BBC colleagues Jon Wilkin and James Graham, who were on punditry duty alongside Lois Forsell, both disagreed with the decision to hand Radley the award on his England debut.

Instead, the two former Saints players believed one of England’s two half-backs should have received the accolade.

Giving his post-match thoughts on the big win, Wilkin said: “England dominated every facet of the game. They carried the ball harder than Samoa.

“We talked about how strong Samoa’s ball-carriers were, well England ripped onto the ball and ran through Samoa at ease.

“England’s back three just dominated and got them on the roll, the middle men were defensively exceptional, they kicked the ball pretty well and whenever they got opportunities, they created chances and took them.

“For me, Jack Welsby and George Williams were just a revelation. They were incredible, as was Kallum Watkins.

“We picked Victor Radley as man of the match, which was an interesting choice in my opinion, because I think Welsby and Williams were absolutely sensational.

He continued on the decision to award Radley Player of the Match: “I wasn’t trying to mince my words, I disagree completely with it.”

Wilkin’s opinion was then backed up by his former teammate and now punditry colleague Graham.

Graham credited Radley’s display, but he believes the half-back combination built in the game today could be seen for years to come.

“Radley even said he was embarrassed about getting man of the match so that sums it up,” said Graham.

“On that half-back combination, we’ve got Jonny Lomax sitting at home watching this injured, but this could be the combination for the next decade.”

“Just to back-up Jon’s point there, I thought the half-back partnership was sensational.

“Victor Radley did a lot of good things out there on his England debut, but I think the man of the match should have gone to one of the half-backs.”

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Raymond Blagg
Raymond Blagg
1 month ago

Johnathan Davies’s indifference to Saints players has now become an embarrassment. Why do the BBC stick with him?