“Why were we growling at them?” – Jon Wilkin slams England’s reaction to Samoa’s Siva Tau

BBC pundit Jon Wilkin believes England distracted themselves before their World Cup semi-final defeat by reacting to Samoa’s Siva Tau.

The Pacific nation’s pre-match haka was performed as is tradition before Saturday’s game at the Emirates Stadium but unlike in the opening game against Samoa, England chose to react.

Shaun Wane’s players could be seen staring down the same Samoa team they beat 60-6 on week one of the tournament, before they went on to lose the semi-final 27-26 in golden point extra-time.

Reacting to the game, Wilkin suggested on the BBC 5 Live Rugby League Podcast that England were too aggressive in their response and that led to a sloppy performance.

He said: “I actually just watched the opening of the game, the Siva Tau and I watched England’s reaction too that and I just thought ‘what’s going on here?’.

“Why were we growling at them this week? St James’ Park was completely different. We stood respectively, thought ‘cool’, and then got on with our job.

“This time it was almost aggressive, and I just thought that filtered throughout the full game. They were so distracted.”

Wilkin also lamented England’s concentration levels and approach in the defeat.

He added: “The golden point three minutes that they played was England’s semi-final in a nutshell. It was scrappy, a few errors and gift Samoa the ball, then they go on and pop over a drop-goal.

“Ligi Sao scored a try and he just walked down the short side. That’s because Jack Welsby was too busy trying to rub his head in the ground.

“I thought it was a naff performance.”

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