Sunday, October 26, 2008

England survive World Cup opener scare

The English trailed the Kumuls 16-12 at halftime and were heading for an embarrassing first-up loss before rallying in the second half for a six tries to four victory in tropical conditions in northern Queensland.

Leeds Rhinos winger Lee Smith scored a hattrick of tries on debut, two of them in the opening half as England overcame their opening examination in cut-throat Pool One, which also features leading title hopes, Australia and New Zealand.

The fourth finishing team in the pool is eliminated and the pressure is now on PNG to upset either the Kiwis or the Kangaroos to have a hope of playing in the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament.

St Helens winger Ade Gardner scored twice with Warrington centre Martin Gleeson England's other tryscorer, while Leeds Rhinos' Kevin Sinfield landed four goals.

The Kumuls' tries came from Penrith hooker Paul Aiton, Jason Chan, Rod Griffin and George Kepa, with skipper and Salford Reds' fullback John Wilshere landing three goals.

England were made to fight all the way before securing the win and fell behind at halftime to the committed Kumuls, featuring several players from the English Super League and Australia's National Rugby League.

PNG were unable to maintain their intensity in the second half, although Aiton ended the English second-half domination by scoring a consolation try in the 75th minute.

But England will need to lift on their opening effort for their second match of the tournament against hosts and nine-time World Cup champions Australia in their next game in Melbourne on November 2.

The Kumuls head to the Gold Coast to try and stay alive against the Kiwis next Saturday. New Zealand and Australia play in Sydney today.

No comments:

Post a Comment