Rugby League - England join Australia and New Zealand in semi-finals

Winger Ryan Hall continued his World Cup try feast as England joined Australia and New Zealand in the last four of the Rugby League World Cup with a comfortable but largely unimpressive 34-6 victory over France.

PA Sport
Rugby League - England join Australia and New Zealand in semi-finals
.

View photo

Ryan Hall (PA Photos)

The prolific Hall touched down twice before half-time to take his tally for the tournament to eight in four matches and extend his lead at the top of England's try chart to 21.

England's other winger, Josh Charnley, also scored two first-half tries on his home ground at the DW Stadium, as Steve McNamara's men secured a semi-final clash with holders New Zealand at Wembley next Saturday.

It will be a repeat of the 2008 semi-final, which the Kiwis won 32-22 in Brisbane.

After watching the Kiwis and Kangaroos ease to comfortable victories in their quarter-final ties, England took centre stage in Wigan, where the crowd of 22,276 left with mixed feelings.

Auckland-bound full-back Sam Tomkins, one of five men playing on their home ground, desperately wanted to mark his farewell appearance with a try and worked in vain to achieve it.

His efforts were rewarded with the man-of-the-match award but he finished the game watching from the sidelines after being sin-binned on 73 minutes for a professional foul.

The French threatened to pull off their first win over England for 32 years when they took a fifth-minute lead with a try from centre Vincent Duport - only their third of the tournament.

But Duport was hurt in the process and, with hooker Kane Bentley having already limped out of the action, coach Richard Agar's limited resources were already being stretched to the limit.

Distinctly shaky in the opening stages, England were give a lift by the powerful running of forwards James Graham and Sam Burgess which laid the platform for their impressive outside backs to cut loose.

Tomkins, revelling on his farewell appearance at the DW Stadium, surged into the line to create tries for Charnley and Hall in the space of eight minutes.

Centres Kallum Watkins and Leroy Cudjoe then took over as providers, laying routine finishes that enabled both wingmen to double their tally before half-time.

Watkins' slick pass, after first sucking in two defenders, was a particular joy to watch but the Leeds blotted his copybook with some defensive errors in the second half.

There was little change to the pattern of the match in the second half as France struggled to make much impression on the England defence.

Stand-off Rangi Chase looked set to add to the home side's try tally early in the second half before France captain Olivier Elima came up with a one-on-one ball steal to relieve the pressure.

However it was only a temporary respite as the French defence cracked for a fifth time on 46 minutes.

Hall managed to palm the ball back from Chase's high kick and Cudjoe reacted quickly to get loose forward Sean O'Loughlin over the line, with Sinfield kicking his fourth goal to stretch the lead to 28-6.

The game ended on a sour note for Tomkins when was given a yellow card by referee Ashley Klein for holding down winger Damien Cardace to prevent a quick play-the-ball following a break out of defence.

Despite being a man short, England added a sixth try three minutes from the end when substitute second rower Brett Ferres went through a yawning gap in the French defence to touch down for the third consecutive game and Sinfield kicked his fifth goal.

View Comments