World Cup

‘Samoa will be a totally different game’: Elliot Whitehead

08 Nov 22, 1:38PM 0 Comments

Written by John Davidson

Photo by Getty Images

Elliot Whitehead insists the World Cup semi-final against Samoa will be completely different to the tournament opener against them, with the Samoans improving greatly over the past few weeks.

England smashed Samoa in Newcastle in the first game, racing away to an impressive 60-6 victory.

Toa Samoa have bounced back since then, beating France, Greece and then edging Tonga to book a place in the last four.

“It’s a good look for the international game that the islands are getting stronger,” Whitehead said.

“Hopefully they keep on getting stronger but the main thing is we need to win and that’s what we’ll work hard to do.

“Samoa have found their straps now, it’ll be a totally different game.”

Whitehead says all the talk before the tournament was about the likes of Tonga and Samoa, with England overlooked.

“You’re going to get bored of us now because we’ve been going, ‘You were talking about Tonga and Samoa’, he said.

“We know what we can do as a group and we believe in ourselves. The outside noise can do what it wants.

“I’m speaking the honest truth, people weren’t talking about us, they were talking about Samoa and Tonga but we’ve showed what we can do. We believe in ourselves and we’ll work hard to keep it going.

“It didn’t really annoy me as when these tournaments come around, New Zealand and Australia usually get mentioned and we never do.

“We just spoke as a group that we were going to show what we’re capable of doing. We’ve done that and there was a lot of hard work still in front of us.

“If we win it, it’ll be a special occasion. That’s what we want to do, we all want to put England’s name on that trophy and be part of that.”

The Canberra forward is excited to play at the Emirates for the first time and in front of a big, local crowd.

“There’s always pressure in big games like this,” he said.

“We want to win it but we’ve got to get through the semi-final first and we’ll be working hard to make sure we get our gameplan right.

“The Emirates will be a great stadium to play at. I’ve never played there and I’m sure the atmosphere will be great.

“I’m sure there will be a big crowd watching us and hopefully it’s different to last time [the 2017 semi-final] in Auckland. Hopefully Samoa can feel the atmosphere.”

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