The home side’s boss believed Tonga disrespected his men following England’s 22-18 victory at St Helens six days earlier. The Tongan camp were upset at the speed of the ruck and also felt the wet pitch at TW Stadium favoured England, but Wane reckons the 14-4 victory was the perfect response.
“I’m really, really proud,” Wane said. “I was absolutely desperate to win that game today, after what has been said about my players this week, about my team, my mates.
“That really upset me; it was a massive motivator for us about ‘we didn’t win the game’ and ‘they don’t know Mikey [Lewis]’ and ‘the ground wasn’t right’ - the excuses about the ruck.
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“To prove them wrong and to get two wins, I’ll be interested to see what the next excuse is. There’s been posters [of Tonga’s comments] all round our dressing room, it was my easiest day ever today.”
Wane is now determined to wrap up a 3-0 series win when the teams meet for the final time at Leeds Rhinos’ AMT Headingley next Saturday. He said: “We have to be obsessed about them seeing the best of us next Saturday. We will have a strong team, we’ll be committed and very physical.”
England scored two tries to one, both the hosts’ touchdowns coming in the first half and Tonga coach Kristian Woolf insisted his team weren’t far away. He admitted: “We need to be a little bit more disciplined, we gave away too many penalties.
“We made too many unforced errors and we didn’t mount enough pressure with our fifth play. It was a close game, a very tight game. They got one try where we didn’t quite get things right on the left-edge, then nailed a brilliant try - a really good kick and a really good put down under tremendous pressure.”