Category Archives: Rugby League World Cup

England prove too good for Lebanon in fiery clash

Jermaine McGillvary

Overcoming a fiery and committed Lebanese side, England did enough to win as they took the match out 29-10 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Controversy has seemed to find its way into this Rugby League World Cup and this affair was no different, as English winger Jermaine McGillvary was placed on report for an alleged biting incident.

McGillvary could now face a nervous wait after Farah made an official on-field complaint to the referees, with video footage suggesting he could be in some trouble.

First points went the way of the English after a swift back-line movement ended in a try to Kallum Watkins.

Lebanon would hit back soon after, though, as the slippery conditions resulted in an English error before Nick Kassis pounced to score.

Despite Lebanon’s best efforts and some close calls, a flurry of tries late in the first half gave the English a 16-point buffer at the break.

A further controversial moment came when Ryan Hall scored. Replays suggested that he had lost control of the ball in the act of diving under pressure to ground the ball but the video referee ruled otherwise and deemed it a try.

A barnstorming run and try to Thomas Burgess, who sidestepped Lebanon fullback Daniel Abou-Sleiman with ease, proved to be England’s last.

Following that try, errors and poor decisions creeped into the game of both sides as a Gareth Widdop field goal late on sealed the 29-10 win.

England coach Wayne Bennett did not mince his words post-game; his side were poor and he lamented their finish to the game.

“I thought we lost our way in the second half with the football in particular,” Bennett said after the win.

“These games are difficult because you’re expected to win and nobody knows by how much. For us, a part of our journey is to be consistent and it’s not good enough.

“We’re not a good enough team where we can turn it off and turn it back on.

“We’ve got to keep it on all the time and did until half-time and then lost our way.”

Lebanon may have lost the game but captain and veteran Robbie Farah praised his side for their heart, determination and commitment.

As captain I can’t be more proud of the effort they put in,” Farah said after the game.

“We’ve spent two weeks together and didn’t even go into camp leading into the French game.

“We had guys shoot off to work in between training sessions and the majority of our team are park footballers.

“So when you’re coming up against world class players and a team that is ranked third in the world, we definitely didn’t embarrass ourselves.”

Player of the Game:

3. Jermaine McGillvary

2. Ben Currie

  1. Thomas Burgess

England 29 (Kallum Watkins, Jermaine McGillvary, Ryan Hall, Ben Currie, Tom Burgess tries; Gareth Widdop 4 goals; Gareth Widdop 1 field goal) defeated Lebanon 10 (Nick Kassis, Jason Wehbe tries; Mitchell Moses 1 goal) at the Sydney Football Stadium. Half-time: England 22-6. Crowd: 10,237.

Tonga book maiden World Cup finals berth

Sio Siua Taukeiaho

Tonga will take part in the Rugby League World Cup finals for the first time after a hard-fought 32-18 win over Samoa at a packed Waikato Stadium.

With their forward pack laying the platform for success, Tonga capitalised on sloppy Samoan attack to cross the line for five tries.

Despite their win, Tonga did face a nervous wait as Samoa made a late flurry with two tries in the last fifteen minutes but Kristian Woolf’s side held on for the victory.

Samoa’s loss means they now face a do-or-die clash against Scotland next week to make the finals.

Tonga started with the early running as they threw attack after attack at the Samoans and it paid off, as Michael Jennings scored the first of his two tries after 10 minutes.

Samoa responded quickly, however, as Jazz Tevaga burrowed his way over from close range to bring the scores level.

A try either side of half-time – Jennings’ second and a barnstorming run by Peni Terepo – gave the Tongans a comfortable buffer.

A further Samoan error resulted in a try to hulking forward Ben Murdoch-Masila as Samoa’s errors continued to cost them.

Samoa would score two late tries to Ben Roberts and Tim Lafai but any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out when Eels forward Manu Ma’u crossed for Tonga.

Samoan coach Matt Parish praised his side’s defence but admits that the errors at crucial times in attack are hurting his side badly.

“I thought our defence was really good, considering you can’t give teams that much ball inside your own 20,” Parish said.

“We made too many mistakes inside our own red zone. That was the only difference.

“Unfortunately, individual errors are killing us, killing us.”

With Samoa usually the ones that have the rub of the green over Tonga, Woolf admits it was nice to get a win over their Pacific Island rivals.

“[Saturday night was] about enjoying the win, we’ve only beaten Samoa once in the last 10 years and that was in 2013, so that was a long time ago as well and some of these blokes were part of that,” Woolf said.

“It’s about enjoying that, and letting our hair down a little bit, after a short turnaround which is always a tough week.

“I was pretty satisfied with all of it, to be honest, I thought we played some really good footy.”

Player of the Game:

3. Sio Siua Taukeiaho

2. Michael Jennings

  1. Peni Terepo

Tonga 32 (Michael Jennings 2, Peni Terepo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Manu Ma’u tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 4 goals, Ata Hingano 2 goals) def. Samoa 18 (Jazz Tevaga, Ben Roberts, Tim Lafai tries; Tim Lafai 3 goals) at Waikato Stadium. HT: 14-6.

Razzle-dazzle play sees New Zealand record comfortable win over Scotland

Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Putting on a show for the New Zealand faithful, the Kiwis exciting, razzle-dazzle style of play led them to a 74-6 win over Scotland yesterday.

Just last year – albeit, the Scots had a very different side – the two sides drew 18-all, as the Kiwis wiped away any bad memories about that game to record this comprehensive one.

The extra level of class and experience was evident as the Kiwis made 18 line-breaks and 31 offloads to highlight their dominance throughout the whole match.

The moment was made extra special for Shaun Johnson, who passed Matthew Ridge to become the highest ever point-scorer for New Zealand after his 22-point haul.

The onslaught started early as a maiden Kiwis try to back-rower Kenny Bromwich followed by a try to winger Jason Nightingale gave the Kiwis a 10-point lead.

The attack continued to flow as further tries to Joseph Tapine, a second to Nightingale, Te Maire Martin, Peta Hiku and Russell Packer gave the Kiwis a resounding 28-0 lead at half-time.

Little changed in the second as the tries continued to flow for the Kiwis, as they build their confidence moving forward.

Despite the scoreline, Scotland was courageous and never gave up in their bid to score a try and they eventually got one as Oscar Thomas broke their deadlock late on.

The comprehensive win is one that made Kiwis coach David Kidwell happy, with every player performing their duties and roles as required.

“All the forwards are really standing up and creating that space for the outside backs and halves to do their role,” Kidwell said.

“Roger, his role is to push up around these big boys, make sure that if they get their arm free, he’s there to capitalise.

“His energy around the ball is what we’re looking for.”

Player of the Game:

3. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

2. Te Maire Martin

  1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

New Zealand Kiwis 74 (Martin 3, Hiku 3, Nightingale 2, Whare, Johnson, Taylor, Bromwich, Tapine, Packer tries; Johnson 9 goals) defeated Scotland Bravehearts 6 (Thomas try; Addy goal). Half-time: New Zealand Kiwis 28 led Scotland Bravehearts 0. Crowd: 12,130

RLWC Teams Rd 2

One round done and dusted and Rd 2 promises to be just as entertaining. With some upset wins, some maiden wins and some genuinely good footy played by numerous sides, consolidating a good start is the key to success in a Rugby League World Cup. 

Rd 2 promises to be just as entertaining and with progression into the finals on the line, teams will want to work and play doubly hard to be there.

So, without further adieu, here are the teams for Rd 2 of the Rugby League World Cup:

Australia v France (#AUSvFRA & #RLWC2017); Canberra Stadium; Friday, November 3. Kick-off: 8 pm (AEDT).

Australia: 1. Billy Slater 2. Tom Trbojevic 3. Will Chambers 4. Josh Dugan 5. Josh Mansour 6. Michael Morgan 7. James Maloney 8. Jordan McLean 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Wade Graham 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Cameron Munster 15. Felise Kaufusi 16. Aaron Woods 17. David Klemmer.

Reserves: 18. Valentine Holmes 19. Matt Gillett 20. Boyd Cordner 21. Dane Gagai.

Coach: Mal Meninga.

France: 1. Mark Kheirallah 2. Fouad Yaha 3. Bastien Ader 4. Olivier Arnaud 5. Ilias Bergal 6. Remy Marginet 7. Theo Fages (C) 8. Maxime Herold 9. Eloi Pelissier 10. Julian Bousquet 11. Benjamin Garcia 12. Benjamin Jullien 13. Jason Baitieri.

Interchange: 14. Thibaul Margalet 15. Mickael Rocuh 16. Romain Naverette 17. John Boubedza.

Reserves: 18. Lucas Albert 19. Antonio Maria 20. Nabil Djalout 21. Lambert Delmas.

Coach: Aurelien Cologni.

New Zealand v Scotland (#NZvSCO & #RLWC2017); Christchurch Stadium; Saturday, November 4. Kick-off: 5 pm (NZDT) & 3 pm (AEDT).

New Zealand: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Jason Nightingale 3. Dean Whare 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Peta Hiku 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Martin Taupau 9. Elijah Taylor 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Adam Blair (C).

Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Russell Packer 16. Addin Fonua-Blake 17. Danny Levi.

Coach: David Kidwell

Scotland: 1. Alex Walker 2. Lewis Tierney 3. Ben Hellewell 4. Lachlan Stein 5. Matty Russell 6. Danny Brough (C) 7. Oscar Thomas 8. Luke Douglas 9. Danny Addy 10. Ben Kavanagh 11. Jarred Anderson 12. Dale Ferguson 13. James Bell. 

Interchange: 14. Kane Bentley 15. Sam Brooks 16. Brandon Wilkinson 17. Johnny Walker.

Reserves: 18. Andrew Bentley 19. Callum Phillips 20. Shane Toal 21. Frankie Mariano.

Coach: Steve McCormack

Samoa v Tonga (#SAMvTON & #RLWC2017); Waikato Stadium, Hamilton; Saturday, November 4. Kick-off: 7:30 pm (NZDT) & 5:30 pm (AEDT).

Samoa: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Ricky Leutele 3. Tim Lafai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Joseph Paulo 7. Ben Roberts 8. Junior Paulo 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Herman Ese’ese 11. Josh Papalii 12. Frank Pritchard (C) 13. Leeson Ah Mau. 

Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Zane Musgrove 16. Sam Lisone 17. Bunty Afoa.

Reserves: 18. Sam Tagataese 19. Frank Winterstein 20. Jarome Luai 21. Matt Wright.

Coach: Matt Parish.

Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Solomone Kata 5. David Fusitu’a 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu (C) 13. Jason Taumalolo. 

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Sam Moa 16. Peni Terepo 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Reserves: 18. Ukuma Ta’ai 19. Manu Vatuvei 20. Konrad Hurrell 21. Samisoni Langi.

Coach: Kristian Woolf.

England v Lebanon (#ENGvLEB & #RLWC2017); Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney; Saturday, November 4. Kick-off: 8 pm (AEDT).

England: 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Ben Currie 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin.

Interchange: 14. Alex Walsmley 15. Chris Heighington 16. Thomas Burgess 17. James Roby.

Reserves: 1. George Williams 2. Mike McMeeken 3. Mark Percival 4. Stefan Ratchford.

Coach: Wayne Bennett

Lebanon: 1. Daniel Abou-Sleiman 2. Travis Robinson 3. Bilal Maarbani 4. Adam Douehihi 5. Abbas Miski 6. Mitchell Moses (VC) 7. Robbie Farah (C) 8. Tim Mannah 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Alex Twal 11. Chris Saab 12. Ahmad Ellaz 13. Nick Kassis. 

Interchange: 14. Mitchell Mamary 15. Ray Moujalli 16. Jamie Clark 17. Jason Wehbe.

Reserves: 18. Elias Sukkar 19. Anthony Layoun 20. Andrew Kazzi 21. James Elias.

Coach: Brad Fittler.

Papua New Guinea v Ireland (#PNGvIRE & #RLWC2017); Oil Search National Football Stadium, Port Moresby; Sunday, November 5. Kick-off: 4 pm (PGT) & 5 pm (AEDT).

Papua New Guinea: 1. David Mead (C) 2. Justin Olam 3. Kato Ottio 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Garry Lo 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Stanton Albert 9. Kurt Baptiste 10. Luke Page 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Willie Minoga 13. Paul Aiton. 

Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Wellington Albert 16. Stargroth Amean 17. Enock Maki.

Reserves: 18. Moses Meninga 19. Lachlan Lam 20. Nixon Putt 21. Wartovo Puara.

Coach: Michael Marum.

Ireland: 1. Scott Grix 2. Shannon McDonnell 3. Ed Chamberlain 4. Michael Morgan 5. Liam Kay 6. Api Pewhairangi 7. Liam Finn (C) 8. Brad Singleton 9. Michael McIlorum 10. Kyle Amor 11. Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook 12. Oliver Roberts 13. George King. 

Interchange: 14. Tyrone McCarthy 15. James Hasson 16. Joe Philbin 17. Anthony Mullally.

Coach: Mark Aston.

Italy v USA (#ITAvUSA & #RLWC2017); Townsville Stadium; Sunday, November 5. Kick-off: 4 pm (local time) & 5 pm (AEDT). 

Italy: 1. James Tedesco 2. Mason Cerruto 3. Justin Castellaro 4. Nathan Milone 5. Josh Mantellato 6. Josh Campese 7. Ryan Ghietti 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Joey Tramontana 10. Daniel Alvaro 11. Joel Reithmuller 12. Mark Minichiello (C) 13. Nathan Brown. 

Interchange: 14. Christopher Centrone 15. Brendan Santi 16. Shannon Wakeman 17. Jayden Walker.

Reserves: 18. Gavin Hiscox 19. Richard Lepori 20. Christophe Calegari 21. Gioele Celerino.

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo

USA: 1. Corey Makelim 2. Ryan Burroughs 3. Junior Vaivai 4. Jonathan Alley 5. Bureta Faraimo 6. Kristian Freed 7. Tui Samoa 8. Eddy Pettybourne 9. David Marando 10. Mark Offerdahl 11. Danny Howard 12. Matt Shipway 13. Nicholas Newlin.

Interchange: 14. Sam Tochtermann-Talbott 15. Fotukava Malu 16. Steve Howard 17. Gabriel Farley.

Reserves: 18. Charles Cortalano 19. Joe Eichner 20. David Ulch 21. Joshua Rice.

Coach: Brian McDermott.

Fiji v Wales (#FIJvWAL & #RLWC2017); Townsville Stadium; Sunday, November 5. Kick-off: 6:30 pm (local time) & 7:30 pm (AEDT).

Fiji: 1. Kevin Naiqama (C) 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Taane Milne 4. Akuila Uate 5. Marcelo Montyoa 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Henry Raiwalui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Apisai Koroisu 10. Eloni Vunakece 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Brayden Wiliame 13. Tui Kamikamica.

Interchange: 14. Joe Lovodua 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Junior Roqica 17. Ben Nakubuwai.

Reserves: 18. James Storer 19. Pio Seci 20. Salesi Faiinga 21. Sitiveni Moceidreke.

Coach: Mick Potter.

Wales: 1. Elliot Kear 2. Rhys Williams 3. Michael Channing 4. Christiaan Roets 5. Regan Grace 6. Courtney Davies 7. Danny Ansell 8. Craig Kopczak (C) 9. Steve Parry 10. Philip Joseph 11. Rhodri Lloyd 12. Joe Burke 13. Morgan Knowles.

Interchange: 14. Matty Fozard 15. Matty Barron 16. Ben Evans 17. Dalton Grant.

Reserves: 18. Josh Ralph 19. Ben Morris 20. Gavin Bennion 21. Andrew Gay.

Coach: John Kear.


Second half the key as New Zealand overpower Samoa

Shaun Johnson

Sloppy in the first half but clinical in the second, a flurry of tries in the second stanza made the New Zealand Kiwis win seem better than it was as they ran out 38-8 winners over Samoa in Auckland. 

As both teams produced dogged, determined first half performances, New Zealand only went into the lead holding a 6-point lead at 10-4.

On paper, the result may look flattering but the Kiwis will be lamenting many missed opportunities as they made a total of 17 errors with their game-plan often going awry.

As the Kiwis found their second wind, Samoa failed to keep up and will be lamenting their own missed opportunities with repeated errors coming out of their own half.

The Kiwis burst out of the blocks as tries to Jordan Rapana and Shaun Johnson gave them a 10-0 lead before Samoa hit back on the stroke of half-time.

A lovely cut-out ball found a rampaging Ken Maumalo who showed off his good finishing skills to give Samoa some confidence heading into the second half.

That confidence was soon shattered, however, as a three-try blitz to debutants Brad Takairangi and Isaac Liu, as well as Kodi Nikorima, gave the Kiwis a 16-point buffer.

The one sour note for the Kiwis was a severe leg injury to Gerard Beale, who was carried off on a stretcher with what is feared to be a broken leg.

Further Kiwis tries to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who reached out with Inspector Gadget-like arms, made the scoreline look good.

Samoa grabbed a consolation through veteran Joseph Paulo as the Samoans were left to rue missed opportunities throughout the contest.

He may have given his players a pass mark for their opening performance but Kiwis coach David Kidwell admits that his side must improve moving forward.

“We have got some [improving] to do, and the guys have recognised that,” Kidwell said.

“17 errors for the game, we are at the start of the tournament and that’s definitely something we need to work on.

“Completing at 62 percent, as we get through the tournament and play better quality teams, we need to make sure that we are a lot better in that area.

“We have got to be smarter in some of our passes and decisions.”

Samoan coach Matt Parish did not mince his words. He lamented his side’s pedestrian errors and knows it cost them the game and opportunities.

“You can’t toss garbage up and expect to compete, especially against a team that good,” Parish said.

“Our second-half performance, and look the Kiwis played very well, but we were our own worst enemies.

“We tried hard but we made schoolboy errors.”

3. Shaun Johnson

2. Isaac Liu

  1. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

New Zealand 38 (Jordan Rapana, Shaun Johnson, Brad Takairangi, Kodi Nikorima, Isaac Liu, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Nelson Asofa-Solomona tries; Shaun Johnson 5 goals) def. Samoa 8(Ken Maumalo, Joseph Paulo tries) at Mount Smart Stadium. HT: 10-4. Crowd: 17,857.

Rugby League World Cup 2017 squads

My word, how quickly four years passes! A Rugby League World Cup is yet again upon us. Will it be all smooth sailing for the Australian Kangaroos side or can another team surprise the rest and earn their way to the top of the mountain?

With those thoughts in mind, we have you covered with the squads that will be named for each respective team and so without further adieu, here we go:

France: Bastian Ader,  William Barthau, Clement Boyer, Mark Kheirallah & Antony Maria (all Toulouse Olympique). Olivier Arnaud & Guillaume Bonnet (both SO Avignon XIII). Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Nabil Djalout, Benjamin Garcia, Thibaul Margalet, Roman Navarette & Fouad Yaha (all Catalans Dragons).

Damien Cardace (FC Lezignan). Theo Fages (St Helens).  John Boubedza (London Harlequins). Maxime Herold & Mickael Rouch (both XIII Limouxin). Benjamin Jullien (Warrington Wolves). Hakim Miloudi (Doncaster/Hull FC). Gadwin Springer (Castleford Tigers). Eloi Pelissier (Leigh Centurions).

Coach: Aurelien Cologni

Wales: Courtney Davies & Steve Parry (both Gloucestershire All Golds). Chester Butler (Halifax RLFC). Danny Ansell (Hunslet Hawks). Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions). Joe Burke (Oldham Roughyeds). Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Elliot Kear, Dalton Grant & Rhys Williams (all London Broncos). Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets). Matty Barron (Newcastle Thunder).

Craig Kopczak (C) (Salford Red Devils). Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles). Andrew Gay & Christiaan Roets (both South Wales Ironmen). Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles & Ben Morris (all St Helens). Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions). Josh Ralph (Tweed Heads Seagulls). Phil Joseph (Workington Town). Matty Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls).

Coach: John Kear.

Lebanon: Robbie Farah & Adam Doueihi (both South Sydney Rabbitohs). James Elias (West Newcastle). Mitch Moses, Anthony Layoun & Tim Mannah (all Parramatta Eels). Danny Barakat (Wentworthville Magpies). Jason Wehbe, Elias Sukkar, Mitch Mamary & Reece Robinson (all unattached). 

Raymond Sabat (Lycans FC). Ray Moujalli & Michael Lichaa (both Canterbury Bulldogs). Jamie Clark & Ahmad Ellaz (both Auburn Warriors). Nick Kassis & Chris Saab (both Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles). Bilal Maarbani (Manly Sea Eagles). Abbas Miski (North Sydney Bears). Travis Robinson (Newtown Jets).

Coach: Freddy Fittler.

Scotland: Danny Addy, Ben Kavanagh, Kieran Moran (all Hull KR). Ryan Brierley (Toronto Wolfpack). Frankie Mariano (both Featherstone Rovers). Danny Brough & Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield). Shane Toal (Barrow Raiders). Luke Douglas (St Helens). Ben Hellewell & Alex Walker (both London Broncos). Oscar Thomas & Brandon Wilkinson (both Bradford Bulls). Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets).  Callum Phillips (both Workington Town).
Matty Russell (Warrington Wolves). David Scott (Batley RLFC).
Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors). Lachlan Stein (Penrith Panthers). Jonathan Walker (Darlington Point Roosters). James Bell (New Zealand Warriors). Andrew Bentley & Kane Bentley (both Toulouse Olympique). Jarred Anderson (Sydney Roosters).
Coach: Stephen McCormack

USA: Jonathan Taylor Alley (Central Florida Warriors). Ryan Burroughs & Joseph Eichner (both Toronto Wolfpack). Bureta Faraimo (New Zealand Warriors). Gabriel Farley & Andrew Kniesly (both Philadelphia Fight). Charles ‘CJ’ Cortalano, Kristian Freed & Matt Walsh (all Plain White Wombats). Daniel Howard (Wentworthville Magpies).
Stephen Howard & Corey Makelim (both Mounties RLFC). Martwain Johnson (Delaware Black Foxes). Fotukava ‘Hiko’ Malu & Nicholas Newlin (both Atlanta Rhinos). David Marando (Belrose Eagles). Mark Offerdahl (London Broncos). Eddy Pettybourne & Samuel Tochtermann-Talbott (both Tweed Heads Seagulls).
Josh Rice (New York Knights. Matt Shipway (South Newcastle). David Ulch (Tampa Mayhem). Taiolo Vaivai (Illawarra Wests Devils.

Coach: Brian McDermott

Italy: Daniel Alvaro & Nathan Brown (both Parramatta Eels). Mirco Bergamasco (Venetian Lions).  Terry Campese (Queanbeyan Blues).  Ryan Castellaro, Ryan Ghietti, Joel Reithmuller & Colin Wilkie (all Northern Pride). Chris Centrone, Josh Mantellato & Brenden Santi (all Wyong Roos). Mason Cerruto (Penrith Panthers). Gavin Hiscox (Central Queensland Capras).

Jack Johns (Newcastle Knights). Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds). Mark Minichiello (Hull FC). Nathan Milone & James Tedesco (both Wests Tigers).  Joey Tramontana (Canterbury Bulldogs). Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons). Shannon Wakeman (Huddersfield Giants). Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks). Cristophe Calegari (Palau XIII Broncos).

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo.

PNG Kumuls: Ase Boas (VC), Enoch Maki, Moses Meninga, Nixon Put, Stanton Albert, Stargroth Amean, Wartovo Puara Jr, Wellington Albert, Watson Boas & Willie Minoga (all PNG Hunters). David Mead (C) (Brisbane Broncos). Garry Lo (Sheffield Eagles). James Segeyaro (Cronulla Sharks).

Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm). Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters). Kurt Baptiste & Kato Ottio (both Canberra Raiders). Luke Page (Burleigh Bears). Nene Macdonald (St George Illawarra Dragons). Paul Aiton (Catalans Dragons). Rhyse Martin & Rod Griffin (both Canterbury Bulldogs). Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe Dolphins).

Coach: Michael Marum

New Zealand: Nelson Asofa-Solomona & Kenny Bromwich (both Melbourne Storm). Adam Blair & Kodi Nikorima (both Brisbane Broncos). Addin Fonua-Blake & Martin Taupau (both Manly Sea Eagles). Peta Hiku (Warrington Wolves). Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck & Simon Mannering (all New Zealand Warriors). Thomas Leuluai (Wigan Warriors). Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights).
Isaac Liu & Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (both Sydney Roosters). Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys). Jason Nightingale & Russell Packer (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Jordan Rapana & Joseph Tapine (both Canberra Raiders). Brad Takairangi (Parramatta Eels). Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers). Dallin Watene-Zelezniak & Dean Whare (both Penrith Panthers). Gerard Beale (Cronulla Sharks).
Coach: David Kidwell

Tonga: Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks). Mahe Fonua & Sika Manu (both Hull FC). David Fusitu’a, Solomone Kata & Ata Hingano (all New Zealand Warriors). Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs). Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast Titans). Michael Jennings, Peni Terepo & Manu Ma’u (all Parramatta Eels).

Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers). Samisoni Langi (Leigh Centurions). Tuimoala Lolohea (Wests Tigers). Sam Moa (Catalans Dragons). Ben Murdoch-Masila & Manu Vatuvei (both Salford Devils). Joe Ofahengaue & Tevita Pangai Jr. (both Brisbane Broncos). Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield Giants). Sio Siua Taukeiaho & Daniel Tupou (both Sydney Roosters). Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys). 

Coach: Kristian Woolf

Australia: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster, Michael Morgan, James Maloney, Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, Andrew Fifita, Jake Trbojevic, Jordan McLean, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Smith & Ben Hunt.

Coach: Mal Meninga.

Samoa:  Frank Pritchard (C) & Suaia Matagi (both Parramatta Eels). Leeson Ah Mau & Tim Lafai (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Bunty Afoa, Sam Lisone, Jazz Tevaga & Ken Maumalo (all New Zealand Warriors). F’amanu Brown, Ricky Leutele, Joseph Paulo & Sam Tagataese (all Cronulla Sharks). Herman Ese’ese (Brisbane Broncos). Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers).

Pita Godinet , Frank Winterstein & Matthew Wright (all Manly Sea Eagles). Young Tonumaipea (Melbourne Storm). Peter Mata’utia (Newcastle Knights). Ben Roberts (Castleford Tigers). Josh Papalii, Joey Leilua & Junior Paulo (all Canberra Raiders). Zane Musgrove (South Sydney Rabbitohs). 

Ireland: Liam Finn (C), Scott Grix & James Hasson (all Wakefield Trinity). Kyle Amor & Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (both St Helens). Liam Kay (Toronto Wolfpack), Will Hope & James Kelly (both Sheffield Eagles). Oliver Roberts (Huddersfield Giants). Ed Chamberlain (Widnes Vikings). George King, Toby King & Joe Philbin (all Warrington Wolves).

Joe Keyes (Bradford Bulls), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford Devils) & Casey Dunne (Longhorns RL). Jack Higginson & Michael McIlorum (both Wigan Warriors). Anthony Mullally & Brad Singleton (both Leeds Rhinos). Apirana Pewhairangi (London Broncos). Matty Hadden (Rochdale Hornets). Alan McMahon (Waterford Vikings).

Fiji: Kane Evans & Eloni Vunakece (both Sydney Roosters). Salesi Faingaa (Parramatta Eels). Jarryd Hayne & Ben Nakubuwai (both Gold Coast Titans). Tui Kamikamica & Suliasi Vunivalu (both Melbourne Storm). Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers). Apisai Koroisau & Akuila Uate (both Manly Sea Eagles). Joe Lovodua & Taane Milne (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Brayden Wiliame (Catalans Dragons). Henry Raiwalui (Mounties RLFC).

Sitiveni Moceidreke (South Sydney Rabbitohs). Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury Bulldogs). Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers). James Storer (Port Kembla Blacks). Mikaele Ravalawa (Canberra Raiders). Junior Roqica (London Broncos). Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights). Ashton Sims (Warrington Wolves). Korbin Sims (Brisbane Broncos). Pio Seci (Nabua Broncos).

Coach: Mick Potter.

England: John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin & George Williams (all Wigan Warriors). Kevin Brown, Ben Currie, Chris Hill & Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington Wolves). Luke Gale & Mike McMeeken (both Castleford Tigers). Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks). Sam Burgess & Thomas Burgess (both South Sydney Rabbitohs).
Scott Taylor (Hull FC). Gareth Widdop & James Graham (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Jermaine McGillvaray (Huddersfield Giants). Ryan Hall & Kallum Watkins (both Leeds Rhinos). Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson (both Canberra Raiders). Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival, James Roby & Alex Walmsley (all St Helens).
Coach: Wayne Bennett.

One-sided RLWC grand final sees the Kangaroos thump the Kiwis

Johnathan Thurston

It probably was not the scoreline many would have been expecting but it did highlight the dominance of the Australian Kangaroos side, as they walloped the New Zealand Kiwis in the grand final, finishing up with a 34-2 win.

It was a masterclass from the Australians and a solid all round team performance, with man-of-the-match Johnathan Thurston producing a stellar display, leading from the front.

It is the Aussies’ 10th World Cup crown and it helped to ease the pain of their 2008 defeat, as they put on a show in front of just over 74,000 people in Manchester.

Using the 2008 loss as motivation to win this years World Cup, Australian skipper Cam Smith said it was a complete team performance by the side.

“I made the comment on the field that I can’t remember the last time I played in such a complete game for an Australian side,” Smith said.

“We have been preparing for this for the last four weeks. We have played simple and tough footy.

“I may have told a little white lie in the build-up when I said this didn’t mean too much from 2008.

“But standing out on the field after the match I think a little bit of the disappointment from 2008 was erased.”

Coach Tim Sheens was also extremely pleased, describing it as the best win since he has been coach.

“The seniority in the team really stood up,” he said.

Rather than make excuses, Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney was honest in his assessment – his side was thoroughly out played by a better side.

“I just think Australia’s performance today was nothing short of outstanding,” Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney said.

“They gave us a real lesson.”

There were a few injuries out of the game, with Kiwis winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck re-injuring the same leg he did in the semi final, Greg Inglis suffering ligament damage to his thumb, as well as a couple of other niggling knocks.

Australians with the momentum as they romp home v Fiji and face New Zealand in WC final

Jarryd Hayne

It was just the sort of momentum they wanted leading into the tournament as they prepare to face New Zealand, after the Australian Kangaroos decimated a spirited Fijian side, winning 64-0.

In an eleven tries to zero romp, it was Jarryd Hayne who was once again the star of the game – despite Johnathan Thurston winning the man-of-the-match award – scoring three tries and putting on an all-round clinic.

With a tough game against the Kiwis coming up in the World Cup final, coach Tim Sheens knows that in reality, the game was tougher than it may have seemed and said his side are out to win.

“It was a tougher game than most people would think looking at the scoreline and we have plenty of bruises. We went out to defend well and we did,” Australia coach Tim Sheens said.

“We were embarrassed in the first game against England (in the first game of the tournament) and it will be a big ask next week against New Zealand.

“We have a week to get ready and we will be right.”

It was a one-way ticket to the World Cup as the Australians were firing on all cylinders – even forwards like Josh Papalii, James Tamou and Andrew Fifita getting on the scoresheet.

For Fiji, coach Rick Stone admits that it was a disappointing way for their tournament to end.

“We couldn’t match the Aussies in the skill and power, but we had a good tournament overall,” he said.

“We competed pretty well against England and Australia at times and we need to look at where we can compete more against them.

“We have come a long way since the last World Cup in 2008 and hopefully we can take some bigger steps now.”

Last-second try for New Zealand puts them in the World Cup final

Sam Burgess

Everyone knew the caliber of both teams heading into the clash and it was a game that well and truly lived up to the billing, as the New Zealand side scored a last-second try after some Shaun Johnson magic – leaving England fans stunned and disappointed.

Leading 18-14 with literally seconds on the clock, England may have thought they were home and dry but it was Johnson who would have the final say, weaving and darting his way over the line before converting his own try, to give the Kiwis a 20-18 win.

In what was perhaps one of the games of the tournament so far, England coach Steve McNamara refused to point the blame at any of his players.

“I don’t think he (Sinfield) has got anything to blame himself for, he worked his socks off. It would be very cruel to blame anyone for anything after that result,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the answer is. You have to move on, there are worse things in life. We are all feeling as though we are as low as we can be, but in reality it’s not.

“Worse things happen and we should be privileged we’ve been part of such a brilliant game. I’m sure we will soon get a reality check and realise we have to move on.”

With McNamara now at the end of his contract as England coach, he is unsure what his future in the top job will hold.

“I’m not sure at this stage, it’s too early,” McNamara said of his prospects of staying in the job.

“I have been focused on giving us the best opportunity (at the World Cup). It’s been a pleasure putting this programme together, I have a brilliant staff and great players and it’s something I am proud of and not something I want to give up easily.”

England put up a fight and fought valiantly, with Sam Burgess having a monumental game despite the loss – he was named man of the match – but despite everything, McNamara knows that the key is that players recover from the loss first.

“We are distraught but great credit to New Zealand. This is high-level sport and high-level sport can be cruel. It was for us,” McNamara said.

“I’m not going to try and pick them up yet. They’ve used every ounce of energy they’ve got. It’s raw and we had a brief chat of how tough we’ve been.

“All of them, every single one, have put their hands up, have prepared brilliantly. They have attacked this tournament. We have dealt with things, maybe other teams haven’t. That’s what this England team is all about and we’ve come through the other side and produced a brilliant performance.”

The nail-biting ordeal was enough to have Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney looking away, though it was the character of his side that pleased him the most.

“I was under the desk so I don’t know,” he said when asked how he dealt with the late drama.

“I was always confident of what we could do if we had a minute to go, had the footy and were down by four. It was the 79 minutes before which were pretty hard.

“We gave ourselves a chance with half a minute to go. If you’re good enough, you’re good enough. If you’re under pressure like we were but don’t open the floodgates, you have a chance.”

Despite the last-gasp win, Kearney knows that they will have to improve if they are to beat a rampant Australian side.

“I’m mindful that a performance like that from us will not be good enough next week,” he added.
“We were gritty and tough and there are a lot of areas we need to polish up on but I know we can improve.”

Fiji advance to World Cup semis and look forward to running out at Wembley

Akuila Uate

Fiji will take the win over Samoa to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup but the chance to run out at Wembley is something they are all looking forward to.

After a strong showing against Samoa that saw them win 22-4, Fiji and especially Fijian captain Petero Civoniceva, are relishing the opportunity to run out at Wembley and play there.

“It was something we didn’t talk about because all our focus and preparation was on this game but we can talk about Wembley now,” said Civoniceva.

“It’s great feeling to know that potentially my last game will be played at (one of) two amazing venues.

“I feel I’ve been very blessed. I started this rugby league ride in 1998 and to be still here, I feel very proud of that.

“I’m really looking forward to enjoying the week, taking it all in with my team-mates.”

At the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, the Fijians were far too good and led 12-0 before Samoa got on the scoresheet, with their forwards laying the platform and wingers Akuila Uate and Marika Koroibete excelling.

Although there is room to improve, Fijian coach Rick Stone was pleased with the efforts of all his players, especially with the experienced NRL players and how they stood out.

“We didn’t play perfectly in every aspect of the game but to only let in one try was a massive boost for us,” Fiji coach Rick Stone said. “I’m really proud of the boys.

“All our experienced NRL players stood up for us today.”

There were no excuses from Samoan coach Matt Parish, who admits that Fiji were the better side and that his side was outplayed.

“We didn’t play that well but overall I’m happy with the tournament,” said Parish.

“Unfortunately we came up against a better team on the day but personally, it has been one of the best five weeks of my life.”