ENGLAND have wrapped up the test series with one match to play after a 14-4 win over Tonga at a rain-lashed Huddersfield.

Although free-flowing football was at a premium, there were the odd flashes from both sides with England being more clinical in an 80-minute war of attrition.

Kristian Woolf’s Tonga lost far too much ball, often after doing the hard work – and England invariably made them pay without having to do too much.

Skipper Jack Welsby, one of three Saints on duty, was kept relatively quiet after his exploits last week – but was defensively sound.

Prop Matty Lees gave his typically unsung energetic contribution in the middle, with future Saints nine Daryl Clark efficient at dummy half in a game that was often scrapp.

England started well and got a fortuitous penalty call for a late tackle on Victor Radley, and from the subsequent tap the ball was winged for Warrington wing Matty Ashton to open the afternoon’s scoring with a try in the corner.

Wigan half back Harry Smith nailed the touchline conversion to stetch the lead to 6-0.

In a sign of things to come, Tonga’s Tolutua Koula raced through and pierced the line on the right with a fend and footwork but then spilled the ball having done the hard bit.

England made him pay and were soon eight points ahead after an infringement in the tackle, with Smith knocking over the goal.

Tonga enjoyed some pressure on the home line, but that was relieved by a defence that was off the line quickly with veteran prop Chris Hill the unlikely person galloping away with the interception.

England again made it count, with Ashton winning the race to a shrewdly angled grubber to the corner to make it 12-0 on 36 minutes.

Tonga responded and drove the ball to the line purposefully as the clock ticked towards half time, but bizarrely opted to tap a penalty with barely 30 seconds remaining and that came to nought leaving the visitors scoreless at the break.

In the first attack of the second half Ashton broke and offloaded with the subsequent kick wide being fumbled over the line by Tom Johnstone.

Smith kicked over another penalty to extend the lead to 14-0, but Tonga kept coming back.

Another Tonga line break was foiled yards short of the whitewash by a cover tackle and England again countered.

They tapped a kickable penalty, attempting to turn the screw on the tourists but that came to nought when Ashton fumbled the last pass on the flank.

Tonga then enjoyed their best spell of pressure of the game, and it took a desperation tackle from Welsby to deny Tui Lolohea after he had backed up a Tyson Frizzell break.

Tonga continued to press from a penalty, with the ball whipped left for Tolutua Koula to dash in at the corner to cut the deficit to 10 points.

But that was as close as it got with England holding out in a dour and often messy final minutes.

So on to Headingley next week with Tonga seeking to avoid a whitewashing and hopefully England able to express themselves more freely with the ball.

England: Welsby; Ashton, Newman, King, Johnstone; Lewis, Smith; T Burgess, Clark, Lees, Bateman, Whitehead, Radley. Subs: Walker, Farrell, Hill, McMeeken.

Tonga; Hopoate; Tupou, Penisini, Suli, Koula; Lolohea, I Katoa; Fonua-Blake, Havili, Tatola, Frizell, Olakau’atu, Kaufusi. Subs: Teaipu, Fotuaika, Koloamatangi, E Katoa.