Before the start of the Rugby League World Cup as England geared up for a clash with Samoa at St James’ Park, the narrative around England was one of negativity.
Samoa were favourites for the opener due to the NRL stars in their 17 and fans believed that defeat could lead to an early exit for England as it would leave them second in the group and facing a tough quarter-final clash.
England ignored this negativity and stunned Samoa with a 60-6 win in front of 43,000 fans. That sent Samoa down the more difficult route to the final four but they came through that route even beating Tonga in the quarter-finals to set up a rematch against England in the semi-finals.
This will naturally lead to a different narrative after England battered Samoa last time out.
When asked about this, England skipper Sam Tomkins revealed England’s brilliant attitude on BBC: “We won’t be looking back at that first week. We played a Samoa side who played really poorly and had some injuries. Since then they’ve improved massively.
“The week leading into that first game all we got told was how good Samoa are and we concentrated on ourselves.
“This week we’ll get told that they’ll want revenge, that there’s a massive gap, that we’re favourites, well we’ll not listen to that either. We’ll focus on ourselves.
“Because Samoa and Tonga are very similar sides, we knew our game plan before this game kicked off.”