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England Throw Away World Cup Hopes
Posted by southstander on November 08 2008 - 10:57:24

Top Class

Once again it was Rhinos players figuring highly in coach Smiths plans to down New Zealand for a confidence booster ahead of the semi-finals and after last weeks humiliation. Lee Smith, Keith Senior, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Gareth Ellis all started the game with Kevin Sinfield being named on the bench. New Rhinos signing Greg Eastwood was on the bench for the Kiwis.

Now rather than battering each other, they had to gell as a team. We bring you a Rhino-centric match report.

We bring you all of the action here......

24

England

v

New Zealand

36

World Cup 2008

Game 3

8th November 2008

England Throw Away World Cup Hopes

Tony Smith rang the changes after last weekends embarassment against Australia. Kevin Sinfield was one of those who paid the price, having being dropped to the bench, as the coach offered some of the fringe players their chance to claim a semi-final place.

It was the best of possible starts as with three minutes on the clock Mickey Higham went over from acting half back for the opener. Rob Purdham converted for a six-nil lead and it looked like the haka had motivated England more than it had the Kiwis.

On seven minutes England doubled their lead with a try that was all Leeds. A Senior break from the England twenty saw his swat away challengers before passing inside to the supporting Rob Burrow who ran in the try from the half-way line. Purdham kicked the goal for 12-0.

But on fourteen New Zealand hit back. After going close on the previous six, England were scambling in defence and couldn't stop winger Vatuvai from crossing close to the corner. Matai screwed the ball wide so England retained an eight point cushion.

Two minutes later and England headed further ahead. Martin Gleeson was the scorer, breaking the line and being carried over by his own momentum to score. Purdham again added the extras for 18-4. It was all going perfectly to the Tony Smith plan.

In what was turning into an end-to-end contest it was the New Zealanders who scored next as Lance Hohaia grounded the ball at second attempt. Matai again missed the conversion and left the scoreline at 18-8, would this game end up decided by missed New Zealand goals?

On twenty-four, Greg Eastwood entered the fray, his first action to conceed a penalty with a high tackle on Higham.

A minute after Eastwood joined his future team-mates for the first time, one of them showed him a taste of what to expect when Rob Burrow went from acting half on the last and scampered over from ten metres. Purdham kicked the conversion for 24-8, England had some breathing space.

After a long suspension in play for a Matai injury which saw him stretchered off, it was New Zealand who kept their concentration the best an Nightingale managed to overcome a tackle from Burrow to stretch over in the corner. Isaac Luke converted for 24-14 and New Zealand were easing back into the game. In back play Wellens was injured and left the field to be replaced by Sinfield, Lee Smith dropping to full-back.

The clock ran down with England in attack and we took a ten point lead into the break.

With the second half six minutes old Vatuvei benefitted from an England goal-line dropout as he went over in the corner. Luke missed the conversion but the margin was down to one converted try (it was four tries apiece).

On fifty-four the Kiwis demonstrated that they were the ones who wanted this game as Vatuvei walked in to the left hand corner for his hat-trick try. Luke converted brilliantly from the touchline to level the scores, now there was concern amongst the England fans and coaching staff.

With ten minutes left Archer allowed himself to be conned into seeing an obstruction by Sinfield on Luke, and the Kiwi substitude kicked to goal to give his side the lead for the first time at 26-24.

Five minutes left and an attempted intercept by Westwood saw the ball go forward, be collected by Fien who crossed to score. Smith converted with Matai and Luke both off the field for an eight point Kiwi lead. Two minutes later and Vatuvei got his fourth of the match in the left hand corner. Marshall missed from the touchline but as the clock counted down it was 36-24 to New Zealand and our World Cup 2008 bid lies in tatters.

England put in a real Jekyll and Hyde performance. A brilliant opening half hour followed by a shocking fifty which saw New Zealand score twenty-eight unanswered points. Too many missed tackles and a lack of go-forward once again cost us dear.

It will now take a lot for England to pick themselves up for next weeks semi-final against the same opposition. Those who have made the trip will be wondering if it has all been worth it.

Match Facts

England
New Zealand
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Wellens
1
Hohaia
1
2
Calderwood
2
Nightingale
1
3
Sykes
3
Matai
4
Senior
4
Ropati
5
Smith
5
Vatuvei
4
6
Gleeson
1
6
Marshall
7
Burrow
2
7
Leuluai
8
Morley
8
Blair
9
Higham
1
9
Fien
1
10
Peacock
10
Tuimavave
11
Jones-Buchanan
11
Mannering
12
Ellis
12
Fa'alongo
13
Purdham
4
13
Smith
1
14
Sinfield
14
Luke
3
15
Westwood
15
Eastwood
16
Hock
16
Kidwell
17
Langley
17
Harrison

Kick Off:
09:00 (GMT)
Half-Time:
24-14
Referee:
Tony Archer
Crowd:
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