Tony Smith believes England review should look deeper – not just at the coach | The Sun

TONY Smith believes Shaun Wane should stay as England boss – otherwise the same mistakes will be repeated.

The former national chief feels the review into why the hosts failed to reach the World Cup final should look at the roots rather than the top of the tree.

That means asking why the country is not producing players as good as in Australia? Why clubs’ talent pools are not as deep over here? Why nations like Tonga and Samoa – who won an epic semi-final 27-26 – are matching, if not overtaking?

Not, ‘Is it all down to the man in charge?’

New Hull FC boss Smith, who led England at the 2008 World Cup, said: “I don’t understand why we’d want to run the coach out of town.

“If we keep doing the, ‘Let’s throw this coach out,’ we’ll stay where we are for 20 years. It just doesn’t work that way.

“There was an overreaction of emotion from some people looking for a scapegoat. We’ve got to stop looking for them. That shows our vulnerability as well.

“I feel a bit for Shaun with what’s going on. We were one point from a World Cup final with players out injured and retired.

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“We all knew Samoa would be a much better team than the one England played in the first game. It was always going to be a tough one, Samoa had some of the best players in the world in their team.

“Everyone I know who was involved is right behind him, they believe he’s the right man for the job – I’ve no reason to believe otherwise, other than we got dumped out in a semi-final.

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“Have a look at England and Great Britain for the last 20-30 years. Do they produce the most of world’s best players and are they the world’s best team? I wouldn’t have thought so.

“For the last 15-20 years, have they been second? Probably not. So where do we sit? We sit in either third of fourth in terms of production of the best players and the number of them.

“So why are we surprised when we finish third or fourth? I don’t understand.”

As SunSport revealed, Wane is likely to find out whether he will be kept on for the 2025 World Cup cycle at a Rugby Football League board meeting next month.

After the golden point extra time defeat, many figures called for a review and an inquiry into what is seen as a failure, especially as England defeated Samoa 60-6 in the tournament’s opening game.

Smith, however, feels the outcry is misjudged, there should be a review anyway – even if Wane had lifted the trophy.

For the RFL should look at making the national side capable of toppling the Aussies every time, not just on a one-off occasion – and the reasons for last year’s near miss are much easier to explain.

He added: “Reviews should be done in every cycle anyway, whether they win or lose – had England won, I’m not sure some of the people crowing for a review would be.

“If we win, we need to still go through the same process to work out why we’ve been successful. Or do we yell out for a review so we can blame someone and vent our disenchantment with our team.

“We’re looking for a one-off. When we do reviews, let’s review why we’re third or fourth in the world.

“Let’s look at why that’s happening, not why is the national team not winning each tournament?

“What’s our development like and why aren’t we producing more players so we can say, ‘Actually, we’ve moved up to second in the world in terms of what we’re producing. We deserve to come second or even first?’

“It isn’t just about finding someone to blame. It’s more about the systems and why is it we’re third or fourth in the world?

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“Is it the way the game is structured? Is it our development paths? Is it how much we put into our juniors? Is it our coaching?

“All this needs to be investigated rather than, ‘Was Waney any good for the team?’”

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