England captain George Williams to led by example after seeing how it’s done

GEORGE Williams is ready to lead England towards redemption and ease the pain of World Cup heartbreak, with the help of several role models.

The Warrington half back will skipper the nation in next month’s Test series against Tonga as Shaun Wane’s side aims for glory in 2026.

George Williams is ready to captain England as they look to get over World Cup heartbreakGetty

And as the agony of last year’s semi-final defeat to Samoa is still felt, lessons and advice from the very best will help him guide them to victory.

Complacency is definitely not on the tip list after the Pacific islanders overturned a 60-6 opening match defeat.

Williams said: “I’ve grown as a leader in the last two or three years. Going to the NRL helped me massively, meeting new players and learning from different leaders.

“I’ll lean on Elliot Whitehead and Chris Hill – club captains – when I need help and I’ll give Sam Tomkins a ring if I’m struggling.

“I’ve been fortunate to play under Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Burgess too, so I’ve been under a few good captains where I’ve learned what’s good and what’s not.

“I was fortunate to come through at Wigan when Sam Tomkins was doing his thing and no-one could get anywhere near him. But I’ve seen him grow as a leader.

“But that was the hardest I’ve ever taken a loss. I’m normally pretty good at switching off and moving on but that Samoa game haunted me for a good few weeks.

“Everything we did apart from the last game was perfect. When you beat a team by 60 points, the mentality is going to be shifted a little bit. You shouldn’t but it’s natural when you pump a team by 60.

“A bit of complacency probably did creep in and we didn’t do it when it mattered. You don’t forget it. You can’t have a day off or you get burned.”

England are already in the mood to take on Tonga, a world powerhouse who defeated Great Britain and Australia in 2019.

England will take on Tonga in next month’s Test series

Last Monday’s get together for the Super League-based players was far more than just a coffee and a catch-up and the NRL-based representatives, set to be six of them, are up to speed.

Williams added: “That was more like trademarks, goal-setting and looking at a bit of a preview of Tonga. We’re going into details about things. It wasn’t just a little chat and sit down.

“It’s pleasing to see even the younger blokes who are 20 or 21 are speaking and then you have old Chris Hill at 35 speaking, so the group’s as one and we’ve got a lot out of it.

“I speak to Elliott a bit and I was messaging Herbie Farnworth the other day. I know Shaun’s on Zoom calls with them keeping them updated with what’s going on. Nobody misses a beat.”

The rise of Tonga and Samoa has added a new dimension to Test rugby league, which now has a structured calendar, with England knowing who they will play until 2029.

Williams believes England’s new structured calendar, knowing who they will play when, can help them get betterSWPIX.COM

And Williams believes that can benefit the 13-a-side code.

The 28-year-old said: “Tonga beat Australia in 2019 and we saw what Samoa did in the World Cup, so the more nations we can get around the game the better.

“I’m buzzing about the calendar for England. We’ve got Tonga, hopefully Samoa the next year and then we go over to Australia before we then have a World Cup.

“That’s stacked. We know what we’re doing. You have to be playing against the best nations if you want to win World Cups and we’re doing that.”

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