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Rugby League World Cup Final 2008
25 October-22 November 2008
Fixtures | Tables



England coach Tony Smith watches his team lose to New Zealand
Smith's team again failed to score in the second-half

England coach Tony Smith was unable to hide his fury after his team surrendered a 24-8 lead to lose 36-24 to New Zealand at the World Cup.

"We've got a lot to play for next week," said Smith, whose team are all but certain to face the Kiwis again in a semi-final tie next Saturday.

"We're angry with the second half and we've got to get angrier and make sure those things don't happen."

England have now lost to Australia and the Kiwis in successive weeks.

Smith's team have failed to score in the second half of either of those games.

But England's victory over Papua New Guinea in their opening match is almost certain to secure their qualification from their group - unless PNG can pull off a huge shock by defeating Australia on Sunday.

"The second half was very poor," added Smith, reflecting on the defeat by New Zealand.

"We couldn't get hold of the ball. We had 12 sets and only completed half of them.

"But we've got one more shot at it - and if we do well there, we find ourselves in a Cup final.

606: DEBATE
TG

"That's what we're aiming for. What happened tonight will be well and truly forgotten next week, as long as we do the right things.

"Whether we won or whether we lost, we've got to win next week. We've just got to get everything together. The scoreboard will be nil-all when we start."

Smith had rested several players - including Danny McGuire, Leon Pryce, James Graham and James Roby - to give fringe players such as Rob Purdham, Mickey Higham, Paul Sykes and Jamie Jones-Buchanan a chance to impress.

Asked whether any had played themselves into contention for the semi-final, Smith said: "Yes - and some possibly out too."

New Zealand winger Manu Vatuvei scored four tries, prompting further questions about the right side of England's defence.

"We'll make sure that we put out the right people in the right spots next week," added the England coach.

"There was some good play in the early part of the game with some tries scored. We need more of that and to give away less penalties - that is an issue for us.

"We also need to have a bit more discipline on last tackles and late plays."

New Zealand took the lead for the first time in the match with a penalty after Kevin Sinfield was adjudged to have obstructed Isaac Luke as the Kiwi player closed in on a high kick.

We will come back stronger - it is do or die

Kevin Sinfield

But there appeared to be minimal contact between the players and Sinfield told BBC Sport: "It was a bit of a joke.

"It was great acting from him. He could get an Oscar for it. I cannot really comment on the referee's decision but that really hurt us."

The Leeds captain is confident that despite the demoralising defeat England can win their semi-final against New Zealand.

"There is a always a positive and thankfully we get another shot at it," added Sinfield.

"There is a big belief we can go further in the competition. We will come back stronger. It is do or die."

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
Marshall fury at lack of respect
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England 24-36 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England v NZ as it happened
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Brian Noble column
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Prop Fa'asavalu out of World Cup
06 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 52-4 England
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia v England as it happened
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 30-6 New Zealand
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
England 32-22 Papua New Guinea
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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