England have dealt the first blow in their three match test series with Tonga after securing a 22-18 win at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but head coach Shaun Wane believes there’s lots to improve upon.
Wane spoke to the BBC in the post game and seemed far from delighted at his side’s victory, instead insistent that his England side “can do a lot better”.
“There’s lots to improve on, us as a team, we did some really good things for short periods but not for long enough. We can do a lot better than that,” expressed Wane.
“I’m sure their coach will say the same about them but I know what our players are capable of and I don’t say that flippantly. I genuinely know that they will improve.”
He also took issue with the Tongan try in the first half, one that Jamie Peacock had previously suggested could have seen crossing and obstruction.
“I thought their first try weren’t a try and then to go behind like that meant we showed a lot of character. I thought in the second half we improved and we fixed up in the second half, which was pleasing for me.”
Moving forward the three match series will head to the John Smiths’ Stadium where Wane expects a far better level of competition from both sides.
“I’m just concentrating on Huddersfield now (second test), we’ll do a review tomorrow, but we need to be better. They’ll be better but we need to improve as well.
“The weather has been poor, we got two sessions on the field with our young team and they weren’t really slick sessions. We’ll have a good week this week and I’m sure that it’ll be a better game next Saturday.”
Speaking specifically on the Man of the Match Mikey Lewis, who was visibly emotional in his post match interview, Wane explained.
“We’ve had a really good emotional week, understanding what it means to be English and represent our country in an inaugural test series against Tonga. It was brilliant to work with the players this week and then get a win today, we’ll celebrate and then work hard for the rest of the week.”