12/04/2017 at 07:20

2017 Rugby League World Cup Finals: Australia 6 – 0 England

On December 2, 2017, Australian team celebrated their victory over England in the Rugby League World Cup men’s finals in Brisbane. Kangaroos lifted the World Cup trophy after a tense match with their old rivals in the closest Rugby League World Cup finals in decades and possibly the best one of all time.

England waited for 22 years to get another tournament final and the team fought fiercely for the trophy, but their dream ended in a heartbreak as Australia claimed their record 11th world crown.

Below we give you the report of the game’s highlights.

The underdogs headed into the match without captain Sean O’Loughlin and hooker Josh Hodgson (due to injury), a handicap from the very start that was hard to recover from. On the other hand, Aussies were confident and their team unchanged after five victories in a row. Both teams kept expansive play at a minimum, their strategy mainly consisting of patiently waiting for the opponent to make an error.

England stated with vigour, James Roby charging from dummy-half and Kevin Brown shifting the ball with agility. However, on 10 minutes, Gale hit Cameron Smith and the ensuing penalty saw Kangaroos putting pressure on England’s try line, almost resulting in a try. The pressure increased along with the second penalty for Australia, but the English defence skilfully resisted the attacks. The first and only try came in the 15th minute, as Michael Morgan threw a short ball to Cordner and the back-rower made his way forward to the line. Widdop tried his best to stop him but his chances were slim from such a close range. Thanks to Smith adding two more points through conversion, the result was Australia 6 – 0 England.

On 20 minutes Dane Gagai lost the ball, granting England attacking possession. They attacked to the right but Australia fought back well and Hall was monstered into touch. Jermaine McGillvary had an excellent chance three minutes later, but lost control of the ball as he tried to push his way through.

England was mainly on the back foot as the siren announced the half time, but the match was still balanced, both sides aware of the danger the opponents posed.

Not a minute of the second half had passed and England was in danger again when Widdop dropped a Cronk bomb right on his line, but England’s defence was up to the task yet again.

The best chance for England came on 54 minutes, after they were given a penalty on the Aussie line. The Kangaroos proved why they have the best defence in the world however, with Matt Gillett performing a slips catch to an attacking Gale grubber kick.

The stalemate continued through the rest of the game, as both teams kept playing at a ferocious pace until the very last minute, determined not to give an inch of advantage to their opponents, neither side capable of breaking the deadlock.

In conclusion, despite not winning the cup, England has much to be proud of. Compared to the previous cup, the team has shown truly an amazing progress, inspiring confidence for the future.