England head coach Shaun Wane has admitted that both he and his squad were left ‘shocked’ by comments from the Tonga camp after the first game of the three-part test series last weekend, which he dubbed ‘factually incorrect’.
Wane saw his side run out 22-18 winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium thanks to a second half brace of tries from Catalans Dragons ace Tom Johnstone.
Post-match in St Helens, the England chief – sat between Johnstone and man of the match Mikey Lewis – vowed that fans would see better versions of both his side and Tonga come Saturday’s second meeting at Huddersfield Giants’ John Smith’s Stadium.
And while counterpart Kristian Woolf shared the same views and said England deserved to win the first test, Woolf questioned referee Liam Moore and noted a difference in the ruck speed between the teams, alluding to that playing a part in the defeat. Meanwhile, skipper Fonua-Blake said that England had a game plan ‘to slow the game down’.
England head coach Shaun Wane was ‘shocked’ by Tonga comments
Neither of those accusations have been taken too kindly in the England camp, with Wane saying: “I was shocked at those comments, but they can say what they want. I was pretty surprised at some of the comments to be honest… Our players don’t say things like that.
“They’re (England squad) a bit shocked. To say that they (Tonga) didn’t feel we won the game is a bit insulting to us, but it’s been said and we’ll deal with it.
“We just don’t do that sort of thing, but we’ll be preparing and make sure that they see the best of us on Saturday. If that’s the way that they want to behave, then that’s up to them.
“With the times, it’s been proven that they were factually wrong with what they said. I checked with our analysts and checked with the official RFL stats, and they were factually wrong, 100% factually incorrect.”
Jack Smith will officiate Saturday’s clash in Huddersfield which could see England clinch the series with victory, while Chris Kendall will take charge at Headingley seven days later (November 4). Wane doesn’t want the comments made post-match last Sunday to have any impact on how the duo referee the remaining two clashes.
He continued: “I certainly hope not. I spoke to the referees, and I’d be really disappointed if it did (have an impact).
“I thought the referees were good, I was amazed at those comments because it’s not the way I saw it, and it was factually wrong what they said.”