Sunday, 26 November 2017

RL WC 2017 : Semi Finals Summary

Getting to the critical end of the tournament, the heat is on. Win and you enjoy a WC Final, lose and the heartbreak. Three Southern Hemisphere teams, two Pacific Island nations and two traditional powerhouses of the game. An interesting mix as the old order of predictability took a hit in the games that preceded the semis.

Game One: Fiji played their hearts out last week to effect a huge upset. Could they do it for another week? It's never easy to repeat that sort of performance. Australia, the well oiled machine, stood in their way. To answer the question, Fiji didn't play as well, giving away soft penalties and also errors being made. Australia didn't need that kind of leg up and by half time led 22-2.

The second half got worse despite Fiji managing a nice try. V Holmes backed up a five try haul last week with six this time round. Will we ever see that in consecutive international matches again? The Bati did well to get this far, but any hope of an upset depended on a red hot performance and a flat Australia. Neither eventuated.

Final score: Australia 54-6 Fiji. Attendance: 22,073.

Game Two: England hadn't made a final since 1995 and not lifted the trophy since 1970. No pressure then. Mate Ma'a Tonga had never got past the group stage before and were in a semi final. The crowd in Auckland was heavily Tongan in ethnicity so it was like a home game for them.

In the 225th RL WC game, England led 12-0 after 17 minutes and went to the break on that score. The second half had England pulling away to 20-0 by the 68th minute. Then from the 73rd to 78th minutes Tonga scored three converted tries to trail just 18-20. The atmosphere was tense but Tonga just came up short, a loose ball carry costing them a victory at the death. England again fail to play a full 80 minutes. That won't do against Australia in the final.

Final score: England 20-18 Tonga. Attendance: (30,003, capacity).

England score early against Tonga
Picture source: Sportinglife.

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