Kangaroos overcome rusty start to defeat England in World Cup opener

Johnathan Thurston

The biggest tournament in rugby league with the biggest names around the world taking part, there was bound to be some entertaining matches and the opening game between Australia and England did not disappoint, as the Australian side overcame a slow start to eventually defeat the English side, winning 28-20.

Trailing 10-0 at one stage, it was the English who had all the early running as they looked red-hot to start the game despite some troubles in the lead-up to the fixture.

With the game played at Millennium Stadium, the Kangaroos ultimately had too much firepower as Johnathan Thurston led his side to victory and played a starring role in their comeback.

The loss might be compounded for England further, with Sam Burgess facing suspension for a high tackle that forced Roos forward Sam Thaiday from the field.

Despite their win, Australian captain Cam Smith says his side has to improve moving forward.

“It wasn’t our best performance by a long shot,” Smith said.

“We were pretty ordinary to be blunt in that first 20 minutes but I was really happy with the boys’ composure.

“We were under a lot of pressure there but we found a way to come back.”

With the NRL season quite demanding and some players still feeling the affects of it, errors galore along with the mass amount of games over the year, both played a part in the Kangaroos early misfortunes.

“It wasn’t our best performance by a long shot,” Smith said.

“We were pretty ordinary to be blunt in that first 20 minutes but I was really happy with the boys’ composure.

“We were under a lot of pressure there but we found a way to come back.”

It was the Thurston show as he was involved in most of his side’s tries, with his performance the sort that Australian fans are expecting on a consistent basis.

For England, the disappointment in not finishing the job was evident, with coach Steve McNamara clearly disappointed that his side could not finish the job.

“We got a lot of positives from it, but there is a real sense of frustration that we didn’t quite go on and finish the job off,” McNamara said.

“We are frustrated. We started superbly and lots of energy. The two tries conceded before and just after half-time cost us.

“The possession cost us at times but if we play to our capability and respect the ball, we can have a crack in this tournament.”

Despite their loss, England were pleased with parts of their effort but captain Kevin Sinfield knows that the side can and will improve moving forward. .

“There is belief and unity in our dressing room,” said Sinfield.

“We will take enough out of this and respond.

“We can take some positives out of this and more importantly, we can improve.

Australia 28 (Thurston, Slater, Morris, Boyd & Bird; Goals: Thurston 4) def. England 20 (Hall, G. Burgess, Cudjoe & Charnley; Goals: Sinfield 2).

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