Shaun Edwards impressed with England’s Samoan victory

Former Wigan and Great Britain star Shaun Edwards felt that England showed professionalism in beating a powerful Samoan side last weekend.

England won the game in Brisbane 32-26, and Edwards felt that they did well to pass a tough test.

“The England lads got the job done against Samoa and I was impressed with what I saw,” said Edwards, now coaching in the other code.

“Playing in that heat and atmosphere in Brisbane is not easy, I’ve been there.”

Edwards also feels that England will need to be on the top of their game if they want to ensure victory against an Australian team wounded by defeat to the Kiwis last week.

The Kangaroos face England in Melbourne on Sunday, and Edwards believes that the Australians will be looking to bounce back strongly from last weekend’s defeat.

“In sport, things go in cycles and this young England side has been picked at the right time to be introduced to international rugby league and to get them ready for the World Cup in 2017,” he added.

“The start of the game will be important against Australia on Sunday. It’s quite strange playing them off the back of a rare defeat. They’ll be highly motivated and looking to make up for what happened against the Kiwis.

Matty Smith and Gareth Widdop played well against Samoa so our ball control and kicking game will need to be good if we are to stop them getting on a roll.”

Edwards was part of the successful 1992 Great Britain tour of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

The Lions won 13 out of the 17 games on that tour, including a famous victory over Australia in Melbourne, where they won 33-10 in the second Test.

“The second game against Australia was my first ever start for Great Britain in a Test match,” said Edwards.

“I really needed surgery on my shoulder before flying out on tour but there was no way I was missing it, I was so focused.

“To keep the Aussies to 10 points in a Test match showed how strong our defence was that night. I had to keep a close eye on Allan Langer which was a hard job, he was a quality player.

“After coming on for the last 20 minutes of the first Test I realised then that this was a different level of rugby league. The pain barrier you put your body through was unbelievable. Playing at international standard is the ultimate test.

“I remember towards the end of the game in Melbourne when we were kicking the ball back to Australia. I was stood next to Martin Offiah ready to chase them down and he just looked at me and asked if the scoreboard was correct!

“We weren’t used to being that far in front against them.”

 

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