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



Smith says the England squad were left shattered by the loss

Coach Tony Smith was left to lament a series of unforced errors as England slumped to a 32-22 loss to New Zealand in Saturday's World Cup semi-final.

England's poor start allowed the Kiwis to open up a 16-0 lead in Brisbane, an advantage which ultimately cost Smith's side a place in next week's final.

"Players who don't normally make errors came up a few," he said.

"It was there for us. We've tried really hard to do all the right things, but we haven't put it together."

England had a 14th-minute try ruled out by video referee Phil Cooley when Ade Gardner's foot just made contact with the touchline before grounding the ball, but all the early damage was done by the Kiwis.

We need more depth in our ranks, more people pushing each other, it produces more competition for places

England coach Tony Smith

Successive errors from Ben Westwood and Rob Purdham gave New Zealand the platform to score two tries in three minutes and leave England reeling at 16-0 after just 22 minutes.

"We wanted to do well in this tournament, but we haven't done as well as we wanted," added Smith. "That's disappointing and we are all shattered."

Smith had wanted a northern hemisphere official to take charge of the semi-final after complaining that the laws of the game were being interpreted in such a way that put his side at a disadvantage.

But his request was denied and Australian referee Shayne Hayne given responsibility for the game at Suncorp Stadium.

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Highlights - New Zealand 32-22 England

"It's difficult to play the game we would like to play under the rules that we play here," said Smith.

"In Super League, it's a lot different around the ruck area. We're not allowed to change positions on the ground in the UK, but you are here and that allows for different speeds for play the ball and allows for different depths in play.

"We have had to learn very quickly and it has had an effect on the way we play. It proved to be a big area for us."

Saturday's reverse comes a week after England suffered a 36-24 loss to the Kiwis, a match England had led 24-8.

606: DEBATE
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And England captain Jamie Peacock summed up his own disappointment, admitting: "Sport is brutal. There is no in the middle at this level.

"When you win it is fantastic, when you lose it's the worst ever - it kills you."

With only an unconvincing win against Papua New Guinea to show for their endeavours in Australia, Smith now has the onerous task of consolidating and rebuilding his shattered England side.

He acknowledged he needs a greater pool of talent at his disposal if England are to compete with New Zealand and Australia.

"We need more depth in our ranks, more people pushing each other. It produces more competition for places," he said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney believes that his side must show a major improvement in the final.

"It's a wonderful achievement but I am disappointed with a few aspects of our game," said Kearney.

"That's not going to be good enough next week. We don't need to be told what we are up against."



see also
New Zealand 32-22 England
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
'Outstanding' Smith stays - Lewis
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England v NZ as it happened
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League


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