Rugby League World Cup: England send sparks off in win over Samoa


Hosts: England Dates: From October 15 to November 19
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Live commentary from Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; Live texts and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app

England’s hopes may have dimmed ahead of hosting their first World Cup match, but a dramatic win over Samoa has now boosted their chances.

Shaun Wane’s side demolished the Polynesian Islanders with a 10-try 60-6 mauling to get the tournament off to the perfect start.

England started the match as underdogs. Certainly no one expected a home win with such a big score.

But by the end, boss Wane, his players and supporters were left purring just how far this England side can go on home soil.

Former Wigan boss Wane – with the nation’s newest star Dominic Young and skipper Sam Tomkins in his side – reveled in the victory over what he perceived as “negative” media coverage.

“We enjoyed the negativity to be honest,” Wane said. “What people say about us is up to him. I knew he was pretty negative about us.

“No one gave us a chance to win the game, but there is team spirit in our team and we knew what we can do.”

“There was a lot of pressure from us”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was delayed by a year and this was Wane’s fifth time in charge of the team since his appointment in February 2020.

But the camaraderie and camaraderie embedded in the side is clear and even the hard-working manager was impressed after a stunning full-time show.

Samoa looked to set the tone with a spine-tingling rendition of Siva Tau’s war cry, advancing into the faces of the England players, holding them firmly by the arm and looking their opponents in the eye.

And the camaraderie was perfectly summed up in an exchange between boss, skipper Tomkins and new winger Young during the post-match press conference.

“Without bragging, we did some really good things and I’ve gotten to know these players really well over the last couple of years,” Wane said. “All respect to Samoa, but I know what these guys can do.

“I’m really happy but we can improve, there’s no doubt in my mind.”

Young said: “I agree”, before Wane turned to him and replied “good boy”, while Tomkins said: “We did a lot of good things and I hope the feedback will be positive.”

It prompted Waneri to look at Tomkins with a smile on his face.

England’s brilliance and dominance saw them score six tries in the final 16 minutes as Samoa completely capitulated through Anthony Milford’s sin-binning.

Asked if he felt Samoa had conceded, Wane said: “I thought we won. There was a lot of pressure from us and we were patient and our discipline was good.

“There were a lot of things, they didn’t put down their tools.”

With the toughest game in the group away, England come up against France in Bolton next week – players who didn’t feature in Newcastle will miss out – before rounding off against debutants Greece in Sheffield.

The organizers apologize for the opening

The tournament’s opening ceremony began with a major setback as a loss of power to the audio system inside St James’ Park led to headline action. Kaiser Chiefs could only do one song, the artistic performers, on the other hand, had to dance without the accompaniment of music.

The setback was extremely embarrassing and delayed kick-off by 10 minutes. The flurry kicked off a flurry of Mexicans to keep the crowd entertained.

Organizers released a statement at halftime in which they “sincerely” apologized for the disruption caused by a “technical failure.”

They may have lost steam off the field, but England sent sparks to ignite their World Cup charge.

The 43,200 crowd was not a sellout, but it was still the largest single-game attendance for a World Cup opener in the northern hemisphere and the country’s singles team match-winning goal at the World Cup.

The attendance was subdued at first, but as the rehearsals began to unfold, and towards the end of the match there was a party atmosphere in the stadium.

“Today was the most support I’ve ever felt in England,” said Tomkins. “One occasion and it felt like the fans were shouting for England.

“Every time we got a try it was audible and electric. As a player you want to play in front of big chances and it felt like that today.”

As expected, there was already talk of how far England can go following this dominant display, but Wane was quick to quell talk of an appearance in the final at Old Trafford on November 19.

“The spirit – I mean really – it’s wonderful,” he said. “I know I don’t have to manage them and tell them to calm down. They buy into what I want to do and I buy into it.”

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