The 18th Man Column...Convincing win for England but score did not tell whole story

Wigan Warriors fans give their opinions on England's victory over France and whether Australia and New Zealand will have seen anything to be concerned about ahead of the World Cup.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Liam Farrell in action for England against France (Photo: Getty Images)

What did you make of England’s 30-10 victory in France on Saturday?

Darren Wrudd: As is often the case, the scoreboard does not really tell the story. Yes, England won convincingly but how did we perform?

Without being harsh, could do better springs to mind. There were several high-profile England players missing which could make some difference in the forwards battle but for me the game was poorest in the skills and errors that we made.

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Constantly inviting France into our half with basic handling errors or poor choice kicks or penalties was disappointing and almost like we were on fire for 25 minutes, but then rested on our laurels for the rest of the game. France were poor overall with some individual good performances, but never the less tested our defence for most of the game. I would perhaps award 7 out of 10 overall.

Jon Lyon: It was a tough game to read. We started like a house on fire and it looked like we could have a cricket score. After a woeful opening 20 minutes France found their footing and caused us a few problems and it was a much closer game thereafter. I’m not sure what to make of the performance overall in relation to England’s progress.

The team for the World Cup next year will be hugely different so while it was good for Shaun Wane to look at a few players there’s not much else we can read into.

Tom Davies did his chances no harm with a fantastic finish, though he will no doubt be kicking himself for the chance he dropped over the line. Overall it was a solid if unspectacular performance but the time in camp together for the players make it a worthwhile event.

Would Australia and New Zealand have seen anything to be concerned about for next year’s World Cup?

Darren Wrudd: All in all I don’t think that the Antipodeans would have given much attention to the England game, if they watched it at all.

No doubt the coaches would and they would no doubt have smiled to themselves disregarding us as a serious threat for next year’s World Cup.

But I am afraid they would be right on that performance.

If we could bottle the first 20 minutes and multiply by four to give an 80 minute performance, then we might have a chance, otherwise it will be same old same old and we will have to watch the arrogance bubble over once more as the trophy flies south.

Jon Lyon: I can’t imagine Australia or New Zealand losing much sleep over what they saw.

Again though, they will know that by the time the World Cup comes round, England’s first-choice team will likely be hugely different.

We know the Aussies’ confidence borders on arrogance at times and they will be fully expecting to beat all before them.

I am confident if we can put together a relatively injury-free squad we have a good chance next year.

Australia still have some great players but their top stars are a level below the likes of Thurston, Slater, Lockyer and Smith who have taken us apart in the past when it mattered.

Waney can get a side wound up like no other coach, there has been many a time when he’s managed to get an injury plagued Wigan team to pick up silverware in a game they had no right to win.

Given the best our country has to offer, he will feel we are more than capable of beating Australia and New Zealand.

The Women’s international was also screened live on the BBC...how significant was this, and what have you made of the strides made recently in the women’s game?

Darren Wrudd: One great aspect of the weekend’s sport was the women’s international. How good was it to see that on television and to see some great effort from the girls. The sport has made huge strides forward over the last couple of seasons and it will only get better as time goes on.

Strength and conditioning will be a big challenge going forward as some of the ball handling was very reminiscent of under-18s but I feel the momentum currently enjoyed by the women’s game is well deserved and I am

really looking forward to it’s future development as a whole.

Jon Lyon: It was fantastic to see the double header on the BBC, let’s hope it’s the first of many.

For our game to survive and thrive we need as many people watching and playing the game every week at all levels. Seeing the women’s international on TV will inspire so many young girls to watch and/or take up the game.

I couldn’t care less about rugby union, never watch it, I find it mind-numbing, but even I have heard of Ruby Tui, the New Zealand sevens player.

Following her gold medal success at the Olympics she gave some wonderful interviews, irrelevant of her sport, which showed off what a wonderful human being she is. We will have plenty of similar women playing rugby league and need the exposure to show young women in this country what fabulous role models they are.

The more BBC and Sky can broadcast the women’s games the better chance our sport has of increasing the worryingly declining attendances of the last few years.