After tries from Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves centre Toby King, Hull KR halfback Mikey Lewis and a brace from Tom Johnstone, England defeated Tonga 22-18 in the opening test of the series.
It was a physical game hurt by the fact the cold and wet conditions resulting in a heavy pitch and not much expansive rugby.
However, after the game, coach Kristian Woolf also bemoaned the ruck speed allowed by Liam Moore and this was echoed by his skipper Addin Fonua-Blake echoed these complaints.
He said: “Obviously, I feel like they came into the game with a game plan to slow us down. Our run is our threat. I was going to the ref and I was asking him, ‘mate, it feels like you’re calling us off a lot quicker than what you’re calling them off.’
“It definitely showed. They were in our face a lot. Some of them, they did win, but like I said before, it felt like it was a bit uneven or unfair. But we’re not going to let that stop us from working hard this week and getting ready to go again next week.
“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.”
However, his comments weren’t all negative with Fonua-Blake underlining his pride at being skipper:
“I’ve achieved a few things in the game and I hold this up there with the highest honour that I’ve ever achieved in my playing career.
“To captain my nation and represent my family and the boys, I was just really grateful. Not many people say that they, I can say that they have.
“When I was out there today I tried to lead as best I could. Next week I’m just going to look to try and get better and better. Just try and put everything I can in and do the jersey proud.
“No, it definitely makes you feel proud to be a Tongan where you can be halfway across the world and you’ve got nearly half a stand full of Tongans playing Tongan music and singing Tongan hymns. I love our fans and next week we’re going to put on a performance that they’re proud of.”