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England Down and Out
Posted by southstander on November 15 2008 - 10:58:25

Two Tries

The World Cup had reached the business end. Sudden death against New Zealand and the very real prospect of being on the plane home on monday.

As the squad was announced you began to wonder whether Smith had lost his marbles, or was just throwing the towel in. Sinfield and Smith were both missing from the seventeen and Calderwood had again been given a start after a nightmare last week. Last weeks danger man, Higham was also on the bench as Roby got the start and McGuire was selected ahead of Leon Pryce.

Nerves were running high at the Suncorp Stadium as the two sides took the field, one of which would be playing their last eighty in the competition. We bring you a Rhino-centric match report.

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

22

England

v

New Zealand

32

World Cup 2008

Semi Final

15th November 2008

England Down and Out

The opening exchanges were littered with mistakes from both sides as the nerves made an early appearance.

On six minutes England had the first real opportunity when a bomb found Calderwood on the last but he couldn't get it away to the support.

New Zealand hit the front on nine minutes when a Gleeson knock-on had gifted them posession. As the ball was moved wide right Perrett went across on the overlap and went twenty metres to improve the angle for Jeremy Smiths conversion. Six-nil down.

In the quarter hour, good hands down the right hand side saw Gardner crash over in the corner but his right boot was on the line and the video referee ruled out the score, was it a sign of things to come?

On eighteen, and this time following a penalty against Westwood for late on the kicker, Leuluai passed to Hohaia who crashed over from five metres. Smith missed what looked like a simple conversion but we were 10-0 down.

On twenty-two after Purdham had put the kick-off out on the full, New Zealand were on the attack and Ropati went over to score. Hayne referred the decision upstairs for an obstruction but he gave the decision to the Kiwis. Smith converted from wide for 16-0 and it was increasingly looking like another embarrassment was on the cards.

As we approached the half hour, a chink of light for England. New Zealand had gifted posession deep inside their own half and despite superb defence, Burrow found Peacock two metres out to crash over for Englands opener. Purdham missed an easy kick and the score was 16-4 (what does Purdham have over Sinfield?).

On thirty-two Wellens spilled the ball with the line within reach.

With a minute remaining it was another Leeds player who got England back on track. A Kiwi knock-on gace England head and feed and from the back of the scrum Purdham kicked long and McGuire chased for all he was worth, collected the bouncing ball and grounded over the line. Burrow added the extras and the margin was down to just six points as the sides headed into the changing room. Ten England points, all scored by Rhinos. At half time there was still hope.

The opening exchanges of the second half were once again littered with nervous mistakes. It took until the fifty-sixth minute when a Fien pass found Harrison who rounded Wellens and crossed. Smith converted and extended the lead to twelve points.

On sixty-one, following a Kiwi knock-on, McGuire and Pryce combined to put Gleeson free to stretch over and score on the line. Burrow goaled brilliantly from the touchline to once again narrow the margin to six points. With a quarter of the game left, England were still in with a chance.

With twelve minutes left, McGuire dropped a bomb in his own in goal and then Gardner tried to pick up rather than ground the ball dead. Ropati pounced on the loose ball to score and Marshall converted to take the score to 28-16. England were now in a lot of trouble.

On seventy-three, Danny McGuire scampered over from five metres out to score next to the sticks. Burrow added the extras and we were back at a six point deficit. With England pushing close, just twenty out, Purdham completed his nightmare night with a knock-on under no pressure.

Two minutes from the end and Gardner failed to deal with another high bomb. Marshall was in position to capitalise and put the Kiwis into the final, and England on the plane. Smith missed the conversion but at 32-22 it was all over.

Too many bad mistakes, at key times, from key players cost us and we exited the World Cup with just one win, against Papua New Guinea.

The Leeds lads had done well, and contributed all but four of tonights England points, but how different would this have been with Sinfield in the side? We'll never know.

The lads are on their way home, bring on Superleague XIV.

Match Facts

England
New Zealand
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Wellens
1
Hohaia
1
2
Gardner
2
Perrett
1
3
Gleeson
1
3
Mannering
4
Senior
4
Ropati
2
5
Calderwood
5
Vatuvei
6
McGuire
2
6
Marshall
1
1
7
Burrow
3
7
Fien
8
Graham
8
Cayless
9
Roby
9
Leuluai
10
Peacock
1
10
Blair
11
Westwood
17
Harrison
1
12
Ellis
12
Fa'alongo
13
Purdham
13
Smith
3
14
Pryce
14
Luke
15
Morley
15
Eastwood
16
Higham
16
Rapira
17
Wilkin
11
Manu

Kick Off:
09:00 (GMT)
Half-Time:
16-10
Referee:
Shayne Hayne
Crowd:
26,659


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