Samoa assistant coach Lee Radford explains week one humiliation against England

Samoa assistant coach Lee Radford admits they were ‘caught off guard’ by England in week one of the Rugby League World Cup.

The Pacific Islanders were humiliated 60-6 by Shaun Wane’s side at St James’ Park, despite coming into the game as favourites with the bookies.

However, since their thrashing in Newcastle, Samoa have responded well and overcome rivals Tonga in an epic quarter-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday to set up the rematch with England.

Speaking to the BBC 5 Live Podcast ahead of Saturday’s game at the Emirates Stadium, Radford said: “On that first week, we knew we would be pretty cold but we didn’t think we would be that far off.

“To see the progression over the last three or four weeks has been really pleasing,” added Radford. “We got caught slightly off guard against England.”

Now the Samoans, who boast some of the NRL’s best players, have the chance to avenge their week on humiliation on the biggest of stages.

Providing more details on their preparations ahead of that week one defeat, Radford says the limited time several of their key players had to prepare was also a contributing factor.

“The Penrith boys had only been in the country five days,” said Radford. “We only had two training sessions collectively together.

“We’ve been growing as a group and hopefully we can continue that this week against what to me looks like the best team in the competition in England.”

Radford went on later to admit that if England do get the better of his Samoa team, he would be cheering them on in the final against either Australia or New Zealand.

However, there is no certainty of that happening with Samoa now having more preparation, game-time and momentum with them for the rematch, with the added incentive of revenge and securing their first-ever World Cup final appearance.

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