Elliott Whitehead ends international career with try as England whitewash Tonga

England scored two tries in each half to complete a series whitewash over Tonga with a convincing 26-4 win at the AMT Headingley Stadium.

The hosts started the game in the same dominant fashion as they had finished in Huddersfield and ran over twice in the opening 26 minutes through Ben Currie and Matty Ashton before Matty Lees and Keon Koloamatangi were sent to the sin bin.

England continued to be ruthless in the second half and Elliott Whitehead bowed out of international rugby with a farewell try before Harry Newman got in on the act, but England were denied a clean sheet when Eliesa Katoa grabbed a consolation for the visitors in front of a series-high attendance of 15,477 fans.

England were keen to mark a clean sweep and threatened to score first when Currie burst down the right and crashed over the try line only to be held up by the Tonga defence.

The hosts did score the first try of the game in the 14th minute as South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess picked a gap in the Tongan line before setting Harry Smith through and he offloaded to Currie to finish a well-worked England move.

Tonga got to grips with the contest for a few minutes following the try. They capitalised on some lazy England possession and looked to outnumber them on the left side until Tyson Frizell threw the ball into touch.

England extended their advantage in superb fashion – Newman broke the line and set Ashton free in the corner and he dived over for his third try in the last two games.

After Smith kicked a penalty to make it 14-0, both teams had a player sent to the sin bin after Lees was sent to the floor by 18th man Junior Tupoa. The England prop was being held to the ground by Koloamatangi, who in turn had his hair pulled by Lees and that sparked a mass brawl between the two sets of already heated players.

England v Tonga – International Test Series – Headingley Stadium
England’s players celebrate winning the series Martin Rickett/PA)

It only took five minutes for England to open their account in the second period. They broke down the left and Tom Johnstone found Currie before he gifted Whitehead a path for his 12th international try on his 27th and final cap.

Tonga’s challenge to get back into the contest was made even harder before the hour when Konrad Hurrell was sent to the sin bin as he appeared to punch Mike McMeeken.

Whitehead thought he had claimed his second try of the afternoon when he latched onto Danny Walker’s grubber kick but the video referee adjudged him to lose control before grounding the ball to keep the score 20-0.

England made their temporary man advantage count to put another score on the board after Smith’s superb cross-field ball found Newman and he powered over on his home ground for his first international try.

Tonga worked the ball from right to left and Katoa barged over the line to bring up their first score of the game, but it was nothing more than consolation as England wrapped up the series in style.