Shaun Wane says ‘understrength’ England have delivered in Tonga series

England boss Shaun Wane has outlined his pride in England’s series victory despite having to utilise a youthful yet understrength squad, something he believes can prove as a positive for the long term future of the national side.

Wane’s side secured the series victory after wins in St Helens and Huddersfield, but they now turn their attention to Headingley as they eye up a clean sweep, something that Wane has been vocal about wanting to attain.

Speaking on the Sportsman YouTube channel, Wane shared how the mix of youth and experience has been a positive outcome of the tests: “They’ve been really, really positive,” he said.

“Obviously we’re disrupted with losing Morgan Knowles, Victor Radley could be out this week and George (Williams) was suspended, so even from the original squad of 24 we’ve been under a fair bit of pressure.”

He added: “I think you look at Harry (Smith) and Mikey (Lewis) who have stood up to their back row and delivered, I’ve been really impressed.”

He further exclaimed: “I think that blend of seniority and young kids coming through is going to bode well for the World Cup in the future.”

Saturday’s clash between the sides will be the last time this England side will play together until at least next season, where they will face Samoa in yet another test series on home soil, however the England boss is looking further into the future than that with his team selection.

During the interview on the Sportsman, Wane expressed how this series will provide his squad with a platform to build off for that series against Samoa, but also for future World Cup’s: “Yeah absolutely, and that was the all-in. That’s why I played such a young team and that’s why I was excited.”

He also added: “Leaving Tommy Makinson out, he wasn’t great his wrist was sore, I had no hesitation in throwing Matty (Ashton) in because I want to commit to Matty, I don’t want them to feel as though they’re not welcome, so I went with Matty at the early stages; and it paid off he played really well in the game. I’m happy and I think it’s going to prepare really well for future tournaments.”

Ashton could be set to go again this weekend however his Warrington Wolves teammate Josh Thewlis has also been called up to the squad for tomorrow’s clash at Headingley, both Thewlis and Morgan Smithies being called into the squad to replace senior figures Tommy Makinson and Victor Radley as yet another indicator of Wane backing the youth to perform.