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PICTURES ADDED: England cruise to 42-0 victory over lacklustre Irish
A RECORD-breaking crowd watched arguably one of the dullest matches of the World Cup so far, as England comfortably cruised to victory over Ireland in Huddersfield.
A stadium record 24,375-strong crowd turned out to watch Steve McNamara’s men get their first win of the 2013 World Cup, and it came in simple fashion against an Ireland side who were powerless to prevent the whitewash.
Ryan Hall’s by the numbers hat-trick earned him the man-of-the-match award, but Sam Tomkins’ excellent running from full back persistently caused havoc in the Irish defence, while Brett Ferres also impressed in his home stadium.
Tom Briscoe also added a quick-fire brace in his first World Cup appearance, but England’s rugby league public can likely expect more of a contest when McNamara’s men take on Fiji in their third match in a week’s time England made the sell-out John Smiths Stadium wait just two minutes for the first of a try flurry that had wrapped the game up before half time. Tyrone McCarthy’s first carry resulted in a spilled ball 20 metres out and England were clinical. Rangi Chase’s offload to Leroy Cudjoe sent the Giants centre short of the line and his offload allowed Leeds winger Ryan Hall over for the simplest of tries. Sinfield missed the kick, but England were off the mark.
Ireland responded with one of only two attacks created a dire opening 40 minutes, getting close enough for Warrington Wolves second row Ben Currie, who was deputising at stand off, to float a kick towards Damien Blanch to force a goal-line drop-out. The resulting pressure was relieved by Sam Tomkins, who’s break clear was halted by a good covering tackle from James Hasson.
But England were simply too strong for Ireland in attack and after 12 minutes Hall crossed for a second that marked the start of a match-winning deluge of tries. A superb Brett Ferres offload sent Cudjoe scampering away, and he drew the scrambling Ireland defence before slipping Hall over in the corner. Sinfield slotted over the extras for 10-0.
Next it was England’s other winger, Tom Briscoe, who made his scoring debut in this World Cup. The Hull FC winger began a hellish spell for the men in green, his effort starting off a 10-minute four-try blitz in which Ireland did not touch the ball once.
Briscoe’s first came off the back of some lovely attacking play, England probing the left flank before switching right, ending when Chase’s pinpoint bomb allowed Briscoe to beat Ireland winger Pat Richards in the air to drop over in the corner.
From the restart, Steve McNamara’s men struck again. Sean O’Loughlin is used to finding Tomkins running from deep and his pass sent the Warriors’ departing full back streaking clear to release Briscoe up the wing. It was not a simple finish though, with a sparkling run taking him inside the field and around several Ireland defenders to slide over to the right of the sticks. Sinfield converted to open a 20-0 in as many minutes.
Hall’s hat-trick try came just two minutes later, with half of the England side involved in the build-up as the ball passed through the hands of Kallum Watkins, Ben Westwood, Sinfield, Ferres and Cudjoe before Hall finally crashed through two defenders to make it 24-0.
The game was then put to bed moments later, as again from kick off England poured forward and Ireland had little resistance to offer. This time Ferres crossed for a deserved try, following a passage of play that saw Chase release Tomkins and his inside pass found the run of Ferres to slide over the line.
Sinfield’s conversion opened a 30-0 lead that England would protect until half time. Though they perhaps should have increased their lead, Tom Burgess fumbling the ball over the try line before Chase’s break moments before half time was incorrectly called back for a forward pass from Tomkins.
With the game won and the rain beginning to fall, the stadium record crowd of 24,375 started to entertain themselves with Mexican waves during a largely uneventful second half. Certainly it was more exciting than what was happening on the pitch, with Kallum Watkins’ try on 56 minutes the only action of note up til 65 minutes. Gareth Widdop’s fine cross-field bomb was perfectly placed to allow Briscoe to knock the ball back for the supporting Watkins to drop over unopposed. Sinfield converted.
Whether England had slacked off or Ireland had tightened up, the free-scoring England of the first half did not materialise after the break. The crowd was forced to wait another 10 minutes before another England try, this time Chase getting in on the act to break the 40-point barrier. Tomkins’ found himself in a cul-de-sac on the right flank, so doubled back and darted towards the line before releasing a grubber kick next to the posts. Chase was on hand to beat Liam Finn to the ball and get a hand on it, with Gareth Widdop’s kick making it 42-0 with 15 minutes remaining.
Ireland did have a glimmer of hope of a try before the final hooter, but when Liam Finn’s excellent kick was fumbled by Damien Blanch on 72 minutes, it became obvious that this match was long since over.
England: Sam Tomkins; Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Leroy Cudjoe, Ryan Hall; Rangi Chase, Kevin Sinfield; Chris Hill, James Roby, George Burgess, Brett Ferres, Ben Westwood, Sean O’Loughlin. Subs: Gareth Widdop, Carl Ablett, Tom Burgess, James Graham.
Ireland: James Mendeika; Damien Blanch, Stuart Littler, Apirana Pewhairangi, Pat Richards; Ben Currie, Liam Finn; Brett White, Rory Kostjasyn, James Hasson, Simon Finnigan, Dave Allen,Tyrone McCarthy. Subs: Bob Beswick, Luke Ambler, Danny Bridge, Anthony Mullally.
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