The second of England’s test matches against Tonga is just days away and England’s head coach Shaun Wane is seemingly adding fuel to the fire by labelling comments made by Tonga’s captain as “insulting”.
England travel to the second test at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium with a one nil series lead following victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium, Wane’s side edging ahead in the second half to win 22-18.
It was a physical and draining game playing with poor underfoot conditions, something that Tongan head coach Kristian Woolf had alluded to, but it was the comments of captain Addin Fonua-Blake that seemed to have irked Wane as he referenced them during yesterday’s press conference.
Fonua-Blake had spoke following defeat in the first game where he explained: “We had a good hit out today. We only went down by four points. At the end of the day I feel like we lost the game ourselves, I don’t feel like they beat us.
“We handed them the game. We clean up some areas that we need to tidy up and hopefully next week will be a different result.”
NRL.com report that Wane responded: “To say they didn’t feel we won the game is bit insulting to us but it’s been said. We’ll deal with it. We just don’t do that sort of thing.”
Wane had already taken issue with both Woolf and the Tongan coaching team ahead of the first test in which he stated he couldn’t ‘understand’ Paul Wellens’ decision to join that coaching staff, whilst his pre-game comments in the matchday programme weren’t glowing in their praise for Woolf.
Those programme notes read: “I don’t really know Kristian Woolf personally, but he did okay at St Helens and has a fantastic group of players to coach.”
Woolf doing ‘okay’ during his spell with Saints saw him lift every Grand Final trophy available to him, and now these comments towards the Tongan captain add yet more spice to what was already a competitive and tight series.
The two teams face off again on Saturday with the series win up for grabs for England, whilst Tonga will be desperate to take it to game three and a decider at Headingley.