England player ratings: Matty Ashton enjoys stunning return as Shaun Wane’s side clinch series victory against Tonga

Drew Darbyshire
Matty Ashton and Daryl Clark England Alamy

Matty Ashton celebrates his try with team-mate Daryl Clark - Alamy

Warrington Wolves speedster Matty Ashton bagged a brace to help England clinch the series against Tonga with a 14-4 win in Huddersfield.

Shaun Wane’s side followed up last week’s 22-18 victory in the series opener with a 14-4 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.

Ashton was called up to play this week to fill the void left by St Helens flier Tommy Makinson, who was sidelined with a minor wrist injury.

Ashton, 25, scored two tries in the first half to send England into the half-time interval with a 12-0 advantage.

A penalty goal from Harry Smith shortly after the second half restart gave his side a 14-0 lead before Tolutau Koula pulled one back for Tonga on the hour – but it wasn’t enough as England wrapped up a 14-4 victory.

Wane’s side will aim to go for a whitewash series win next week when they take on Tonga in the third and final test in Leeds.

Our England player ratings

Jack Welsby – 7. Probably one of the quieter games from the England skipper, but he didn’t put a foot wrong. He produced a try saving tackle on Tonga’s Dion Teaupa along with Mikey Lewis.

Matty Ashton – 8. An impressive return to the England team from Ashton. Not only did he score two tries, but he made a lot of carries out of yardage.

Harry Newman – 7. The Leeds centre had a couple of nice touches in the game and produced a nice flick on for one of Ashton’s tries.

Toby King – 7. A steady display from the centre. One of his quieter games, but he carried hard and was solid in defence.

Tom Johnstone – 7. The Catalans flier had a couple of chances to go over but couldn’t quite execute them. It was another decent showing from him though, backing up a big display last week.

Mikey Lewis – 7. Not as headline-grabbing as last week, but his running threat caused problems for the Tongan defence again. He’s handling himself well on the international scene.

Harry Smith – 7. The Wigan half-back had a good game with the boot – both his in-game kicking and conversion kicking. He put his side in decent field territory with his last tackle plays.

Tom Burgess – 8. The South Sydney Rabbitohs powerhouse has been one of England’s standout forwards in the series so far.

Daryl Clark – 7. Given the wet conditions in Huddersfield, it was a battle for the forwards. Clark did well to get his pack on the front foot.

Matty Lees – 7. Had two big stints, the first half in particular. The St Helens prop mixed it up with some of Tonga’s biggest players and stood up well against his counterparts.

John Bateman – 8. A hard-working display from the Wests Tigers man. He put in a massive defensive effort in both halves.

Elliott Whitehead – 7. Similar to Bateman, Whitehead’s work rate was high. The Canberra back-rower may not often get the headlines, but his hard work can’t be underestimated.

Victor Radley – 7. The Sydney Roosters man had some good link up play in attack and put himself about in defence. Played big minutes, too.


Danny Walker – 6. The Warrington hooker came on around the hour mark and added a bit of zip to England’s attack in the last quarter.

Liam Farrell – N/A. He only came on for his 12th England appearance with a couple of minutes to go so we can’t really give him a rating.

Chris Hill – 8. A huge effort from the veteran front-rower. Mixed it up with Tonga’s pack and made some hard yards with his drives.

Mike McMeeken – 8. McMeeken has probably been up there with Burgess as one of England’s top forwards in this series. Carried hard, tackled hard.

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