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Smith left humbled by record loss

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England were embarrassed by the rampant Kangaroos in Melbourne

Tony Smith said England's record World Cup defeat at the hands of defending champions Australia was hard to take.

"We are hurting and embarrassed," said the England coach after the 52-4 loss. "We need to improve - and we will."

Smith said he was confident his team would bounce back, adding: "These sorts of experiences bring you together, and that's what'll happen with these boys."

The Kangaroos ran in nine tries at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne to reinforce their tag as hot favourites.

Centre Greg Inglis and full-back Billy Slater claimed a hat-trick apiece, while Anthony Laffranchi (2) and Joel Monaghan added the others.

"They've got speed and some exciting players," said Smith. "Hats off to them, I can't praise them enough about the way they played, but we need to execute better in some areas."

But Smith insists his side are still in with a chance of the title.

"I thought there were signs in the first half that we can trouble Australia," he said.

We're disappointed with our performance but you don't have to be at your best just yet

England coach Tony Smith

"At half-time, there were a lot of positives in the dressing room. We all felt we could get back into the game, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way."

He added: "It's a tournament that you get another chance at.

"We're disappointed with our performance but you don't have to be at your best just yet. As long as we get closer and closer to our best, we are still in with a shot."

England's defeat surpassed the 49-6 drubbing they took from New Zealand in the 2000 World Cup semi-finals in Bolton.

They face the Kiwis again next weekend in their final pool game - and will almost certainly meet Stephen Kearney's side in the last four.

England captain Jamie Peacock is hoping for a sudden turnaround in fortunes ahead of the game in Newcastle.


"I don't think we can get much worse," the Leeds Rhinos forward told BBC Sport. "We need to get better quickly."

He also felt England could have got closer to Australia had they capitalised on their period of pressure midway through the first half.

"When you've got that much dominance in a game you need to come away with more than one try," he said.

"That wasn't good enough. Credit to Australia, they held us out, but we should have come away with more points than that and it might have been more of a competition."

Rugby League World Cup : Group A Table
09 November 2008 10:42
  Team P PD PTS
1 Australia 3 112 6
2 New Zealand 3 30 4
3 England 3 -50 2
4 Papua New Guinea 3 -92 0

Rugby League World Cup : Group B Table
05 November 2008 12:59
  Team P PD PTS
1 Fiji 2 34 2
2 Scotland 2 -16 2
3 France 2 -18 2

Rugby League World Cup : Group C Table
05 November 2008 09:52
  Team P PD PTS
1 Ireland 2 16 2
2 Tonga 2 -6 2
3 Samoa 2 -10 2

see also
Stuart promises no Aussie let-up
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 52-4 England
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia v England as it happened
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League

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