England coach Shaun Wane says he used the recently announced Tonga test series as a motivational team talk to his players ahead of their game against France.
On Friday morning, the Rugby Football League officially confirmed that England will host Tonga in a three-match test series in St Helens, Leeds and Huddersfield this autumn.
And the Tonga news made Wane’s pre-match team talk a lot easier as his side went on to hammer France 64-0 in Warrington.
He said: “My talk before the game was about Tonga, what we’ve got to look forward to and how they can put their stamp on a position.
“It made my talk a lot easier that being on so credit to the RFL for getting that series on. It is something for us to look forward to and build on.
“Our conversations with players will be made a lot easier now because of that. I hope we can put something solid in for next year as well so hopefully people can plan knowing when the international window is going to be, buy their tickets and make sure our grounds are full.”
Shaun Wane: We won’t get carried away
The England boss said he was ‘really happy’ with his side’s display against France, but knows Tonga will be a different beast later this year.
He said: “We won’t get carried away with that at all because France were underdone and are very young even though they were a big athletic team, but we could only play what we were up against.
“But overall, it will stand us in good stead for a really tough series. Them what played today have really stamped their name on a position and depending on how they are going with their Super League teams, they’ve got a decent chance to be a part of that squad.”
Wane will have a healthy selection headache this autumn, with the NRL-based players being available as well as a number of players coming back from injury.
He added: “We can be a lot stronger, that’s what excited me.
“This is a really good team and doing the presentation last night was emotional with so many debuts. Not many have been in this position before so I was really impressed with how they adapted and how strong they are.
“We’ve got players to come back and we’ve got some of last year’s World Cup players that will be available so things are good. The Super League head coaches and CEOs deserve credit.”