Shaun Wane says England players “could play NRL” as he rejects notion Samoan stars got under his side’s skin

Shaun Wane was forced to come to terms with defeat in the Rugby League World Cup semi-final to Samoa yesterday.

It was the most heartbreaking fashion of defeat. England had come back from behind three times to send the game to Golden Point with Herbie Farnworth twice scoring crucial tries.

However, after a forward pass in Golden Point, Samoa were gift wrapped a shot at winning the game and they took it with Stephen Crichton nailing a superb drop goal to win the game for his country.

After the game it was suggested to Shaun Wane that it was the NRL Grand Final winners in the Samoa side that proved the difference such as Crichton and Jarome Luai both of whom were magnificent.

However, the ex-Wigan Warriors coach rejected this narrative: “I think there’s people in our team who are outstanding players and could play over in the NRL so it’s not just that reason, I knew it would be a different challenge today. They were better.

“I can’t for one minute question my players. They’re devastated as am I.

“To make any excuses would be unfair to Samoa.”

He also didn’t agree that part of the reason for the defeat was the fact Samoan players got under the skin of his men: “That happens in league, in the biggest games. They got the win in the end.”

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