England progress to Semi-Final after dominant victory over PNG

06 Nov 22, 7:22AM 0 Comments

Written by Rugby Football League

Photo by RFL

Tommy Makinson set an English World Cup record of 30 points with five tries and five goals as England moved 80 minutes away from a second successive World Cup final after a 46-6 quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea.

Shaun Wane’s men never looked back at the DW Stadium after racing into a 38-0 lead after 24 minutes and, although the Kumuls rallied sufficiently to avoid total humiliation, the comfortable win takes them to a semi-final at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium next Saturday.

They will face either Samoa or Tonga, who meet in the last quarter-final at Warrington on Sunday, and on this form can confidently look forward to a trip to Old Trafford a week later to take on Australia, New Zealand or Fiji.

Wane had warned his players to expect their toughest test yet and he will be delighted with the ease with which they dismantled the Kumuls defence in a blistering start in front of a crowd of 23,179 which included the Princess of Wales.

Makinson, who had lived in the shadow of his wing rival Dom Young in the pool stages, took his chance to shine as England ran in nine tries.

Another lop-sided match, following Australia’s 48-4 rout of Lebanon in the first quarter-final, will do little for the image of the tournament but England fans will not care as their team sharpened their claws for the business end, having piled up 242 points in four matches so far.

The cold and damp conditions were a far cry from the heat and humidity of Port Moresby where the Kumuls humbled Great Britain in 2019 and England used them to their advantage.

Prop Tom Burgess, one of three England men playing in their third World Cup, helped soften up the Papua New Guinea defence with a couple of strong early runs and he powered his way over for the game’s first try on six minutes.

That stemmed from a neat kick by full-back Sam Tomkins, whose grubber then created the first try for Makinson as he produced a clinical pick-up wide out.

Stand-off George Williams was also on point with his tactical kicking, which helped deliver a ninth try of the tournament for Dom Young, who is now two behind Australia’s Josh Addo-Carr.

Makinson outjumped his opposite number to touch down Williams’ lofted kick and a break by second rower John Bateman paved the way for centre Kallum Watkins to get Williams sliding over for England’s fifth try.

Young then turned provider to get Watkins over and Makinson completed his hat-trick on 24 minutes courtesy of a captain’s challenge after referee Liam Moore had failed to spot a knock-on on his own line by Kumuls full-back Alex Johnston.

After spending virtually the entire first quarter camped inside their own half, Papua New Guinea eventually managed to stem the onslaught but without seriously threatening the England defence.

The Kumuls managed to keep England quiet for half-an-hour until centre Herbie Farnworth worked Makinson over for his fourth try on 57 minutes.

Papua New Guinea grabbed a consolation try through winger Jimmy Ngutlik 10 minutes from the end which was converted by Rhyse Martin but Makinson had the final say when he squeezed in at the corner for his fifth try six minutes from the end.

“I do genuinely believe that we can get better,” said Wane. “Our start was faultless and that was probably the best 30 minutes I’ve had (in my career).

“But we can play better for longer, and we will need to do that because we will be coming up against a new level of opponent next week. We need to get better, and we will absolutely need to get more intense.”

Wane has never been one for singling out individual stars but he made an exception for Makinson who was irrepressible on the left wing as he stepped out of the shadow of his wing rival Dom Young.

Wane, who endured plenty of agony from a Makinson-inspired St Helens during his previous role as Wigan coach, said: “I’ve coached against him for many years and he’s been a pain in the backside for us as a club.

“He is an outstanding individual and more importantly he is a really top man. Now I’ve got the chance to coach him as an international coach, and he’s an absolute dream.”

Makinson himself sought to deflect the inevitable attention away from his 30-point haul, insisting it was just a part of a magnificent team performance that maintained their steely focus on claiming a maiden England World Cup win in a fortnight’s time.

“It is a dream to score five tries – it is a day I will remember and I will hang the shirt up, but I’m sure there will be more special days,” said Makinson.

“To score five tries is good, but to be involved in this group and go ahead with what we want to achieve is much bigger. I just love every day I spend with these lads – we’ve got each other’s backs and we have a laugh, but when it gets down to business we do it.

“We want to do something special, but talk is cheap and we have to go out and do it. To get the points and the tries is great but there’s much bigger things at stake. That’s why we’re so close, because we want to create the kind of history that hasn’t been done for a long time.”

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