It had been a long wait for Shaun Wane going into Saturday’s World Cup opener against Samoa.
He had been appointed as England boss at the start of 2020 eager for an Ashes Series at the end of the season only for the pandemic to see it cancelled.
His first game in charge wouldn’t come until England met the Combined Nations in June 2021 in preparation for the World Cup which was then moved back till 2022 again due to the pandemic.
But after two years of waiting, he finally got to see his side take on a Southern Hemisphere giant and in the World Cup no less and his side utterly obliterated opponents Samoa 60-6 despite going into the game as underdogs.
For the ex-Wigan boss it meant a hell of a lot to finally see the waiting end: “It meant a great deal. I’m just really pleased for the players, how they’ve adapted. It’s been a long time for them as well.
“They’ve had a lot of information, some bad phone calls, some bad messages over the years and to see Sam lead them out as a captain and how he has behaved this week as a leader, I’m so proud of them it’s untrue.”
That said, Wane and his team were made to wait a little bit more due to the technical issues at St James’ Park before the game.
The PA system failed delaying proceedings on the pitch with Kevin Sinfield and Jason Robinson among others set to deliver the trophies to the middle of the field as part of an opening ceremony.
It also meant that the Kaiser Chiefs only played one song pre-game and saw kick-off delayed.
Fans should be commended for how they sustained the atmosphere with a Mexican wave but nonetheless, it delayed a game that had Wane and co had already waited an eternity for.
After the match, the England boss admitted he was frustrated with it but also with the stoppages in the game that he felt took away from the spectacle: “That was frustrating for me, I don’t know what happened to be honest. The game was slow itself, a lot of stoppages which was frustrating.
“We want a fast game to entertain the fans but it is what it is. I thought we managed it really well.”