Shaun Wane’s England achieved their clean sweep of Tonga with a resounding 26-4 win at Headingley today and the England boss has now hit out at “ex players talking absolute rubbish” in defending the team’s playstyle.
Throughout the series England have outplayed Tonga who had been expected to bring a much larger threat than they actually did, however today at Headingley with the freedom of having secured a series victory England played some excellent stuff.
At times it was scrappy, England perhaps playing down to the level of the mistake riddled Tongans, but in wet and greasy conditions at Headingley England still managed to make some plays that lifted you off the edge of your seat with Harry Newman at the centre of a couple of those himself.
The Rhinos centre would have perhaps been shocked to receive the call-up given Wane’s public criticism of him in which he called on the 23-year-old to be more disciplined. Newman has certainly taken that onboard and has thrived during this series which culminated in the Leeds lad scoring his first England try in front of his home crowd.
On Newman’s impressive performances, Wane explained: “He’s been under the pump and we’ve had some really, really honest chats, but the way he’s responded, Leeds have got a good player there, a really talented player and he showed that today.
“A couple of things he did were a bit off but overall his attitude, his behaviour in camp has been so good. He’s a credit to Leeds Rhinos.”
The centre set up Matty Ashton’s try in the first half with a slick offload out the back when executing a two on one perfectly, whilst he bagged his first England score in the second half in incredible fashion. With play breaking down on the left flank half-back Harry Smith drilled a flat aerial kick 40 yards cross field for Newman to catch, dance past one defender and drive to the line.
Speaking to the press post match Wane used that example to highlight his team’s impressive play, hitting out at those former players who had questioned it.
He explained: “That was my favourite bit but that’s Lee Briers, that’s not me. With the talent that the players have got to execute at the highest level in a test match against Tonga, it was an outstanding try.
“We’ve had comments from ex players talking absolute rubbish about not being entertaining and they don’t think about Test matches, they don’t think about the weather.
“Then we scored tries like that, it’s just beggars belief when I hear stupid comments from past players.”