Super League pundit Jon Wilkin slams England as ‘overhyped’ following World Cup exit

SUPER League pundit Jon Wilkin has not held back in his scathing criticism of England at the World Cup, labelling them as ‘rubbish’ following their exit at the hands of Samoa last Saturday.

England went into that fixture hot favourites following the 60-6 drubbing of Samoa in round one of the tournament, but saved a disappointing performance for when it really mattered, going down 27-26 in Golden Point.

And for former St Helens forward Wilkin, England just weren’t good enough.

“They were rubbish,” Wilkin said on Sky Sports. “Samoa started the tournament so badly and they improved, England started the tournament so well and when it got to the period that mattered, they produced a rank performance.”

Wilkin also believes that England went up against the Siva Tau – the traditional Samoan war dance – in the wrong manner.

“England made unforced errors, uncharacteristic errors and they were flustered. I thought they were overhyped before the game,” Wilkin continued.

“You saw facing-off against the Samoans pre-game and (for) some of them, it was like pure aggression coming out of the England players.

“Whenever I faced the haka or any of the cultural dance, I took it for what it is which is a beautiful insight into someone’s else culture. It’s not a threat, it’s not intimidating, and I thought England took it in the wrong way.”

Wilkin went further, labelling the performance against Samoa the ‘worst’ of the World Cup.

“They were overhyped,” Wilkin continued. “They’d had Ant Middleton (former Royal Marines Commando) in the camp the night before. For me, it was overstimulated, overhyped and it translated into a sloppy performance.

“Players who have been playing well all tournament, produced their worst performance in the biggest game. It’s devastating for England and a big learning experience for a lot of young guys.”