London, England– The Rugby League World Cup started with a bang. Of the seven matches, not a single one was lop sided! So far we’ve seen one of the teams to reach the final most likely decided, one upset and not a single bad game! If you haven’t watched the games you are really missing out. If you haven’t – no worries. Here’s our Rugby League World Cup Round 1 Review
Game 1- Australia vs England
I had the privilege of going to the World Cup opener. The opening game was Australia vs England played as a double header in Cardiff. The winner of this game is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the final. The winner has almost made sure they will top the group and not have to face most likely New Zealand. The game itself was a back and forth affair, England took the scored first and took a 10-0 lead, which the Aussies replied with three tries bringing the score Australia 18 to England’s 10. The second half saw much the same with the Australians scoring an early try, England then answered with two, only for Australia to cap it off with one more.
Final Score: Australia 28-20 England
Game 2: Wales vs Italy
This game was part of the double-header series at Millennium Stadium. It saw the locals, Wales, take on the predominantly Australian, Italian team. This was once again a thrilling back and forth affair, seeing the lead change a few times. Half time saw Italy edge it out 12-14. The second half opened immediately with Wales scoring but that’s the last score they would have for the match, as Italy would run away with it a bit later.
Final Score: Wales 16-32 Italy
Game 3: Papua New Guinea vs France
Game 3 saw France, who were coming off a loss to the USA, take on Papua New Guinea. The game was one of the most eventful games to watch. Low scoring with some great defence. The first half saw France take a 6-4 lead. The game was one of the best. PNG scored a try in the second half to take the lead 8-6. This was answered with a France Penalty kick levelling the scores. Five minutes later France went for a Drop goal to take a 9-8 lead. With no time left PNG got a penalty about 20 meters out and in front of the posts and the kicker sliced it. Giving France the win.
Final Score: PNG 8-9 France
Game 4- New Zealand vs Samoa
Game four was the highest scoring game so far of the World Cup. The first half saw complete domination by New Zealand. They took a significant lead over Samoa going into the half 22-4. The second half saw Samoa mount a massive comeback going on a 20-4 run. It was not enough to cage the roaring Kiwis, though. But take a look at Sonny Bill Williams‘ lovely performance:
Final Score: New Zealand 42-24 Samoa
Game 5- Fiji vs Ireland
This was the one game where it was waiting to kick off! The Fijians looked to bring in the dominance however, Ireland was ready to hit back. The game was very close in general, with Ireland just behind at half 12-4 to Fiji. Fiji then took the second half with four unanswered tries. The Irish were not to be put off and scored two consolation tries to finish off the match. The Irish never gave up hope, and it really showed.
Final Score: Fiji 32-14 Ireland
Game 6- Tonga vs Scotland
This was the most emotional game of the tournament so far. It saw the favourites, Tonga, fall at half to the Scottish. The Tongans opened the scoring early in what looked to be a runaway game. However, the Scots were going to have none of it. They scored three unanswered tries, giving them a lead at half time of 20-4. Tonga came out blazing from the half scoring 20 unanswered points. With only 20 minutes left in the half Scotland were down 20-24. They eventually scored a try with 8 minutes left. The Togan’s battled back and got a penalty about 10 meters out and instead of going for the tie, they opted to tap and play for the win. It came down to a video referee decision which was given as no try and gave Scotland the win.
Final Score: Tonga 24-26 Scotland
Game 7- USA vs Cook Island
This one went back and forth for most of the game and made for a great game between the USA and the Cook Islands. It saw one team score, only to be answered back by the other. This went to on till 20-20, at which point the USA scored two tries to pull away. It’s the inaugural win for the Americans in a World Cup.
Final Score: USA 32-20 Cook Island
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