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BBC Sport's Dave Woods
With a round-up of the action
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Wales hooker Keiron Cunningham
"We've got a great team spirit"
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PNG captain Adrian Lam
reflects on his team's defeat
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BBC Wales' Gareth Charles
Match report
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David Watkins with Gareth Charles
Match analysis
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Wales coach Clive Griffiths
says the Australians must be 'quaking in their boots'!
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Sunday, 12 November, 2000, 19:15 GMT
Wales win sets up Aussie showdown
Dean Busby tackles Adrian Lam
Dean Busby of Wales tackles PNG star Adrian Lam
Wales 22-8 Papua New Guinea

By BBC Sport Online's Phil Gordos at Widnes.

Wales secured a daunting clash with reigning champions and hot favourites Australia after sweeping aside the challenge of Papua New Guinea of the Rugby League World Cup.

In a dull encounter, the 1995 semi-finalists made it to the last four again - thanks to first-half tries from Jason Critchley, Lee Briers and Wes Davies.

Jason Critchley
Jason Critchley crashes over for the first try of the game
Iestyn Harris also showed his class with another perfect kicking display, his right boot giving him a personal tally of 10 points.

But it was a subdued beginning inside a very subdued Auto Quest Stadium, another poor turn-out ensuring this game was never going to spark into life.

Not even the lovely 'Lights' - the North West's equivalent of Pan's People - could ignite any passion prior to kick-off.

In a rugby league stronghold, the lack of interest can only be viewed as another kick in the teeth to the organisers.

Wales took an early lead when Harris landed a penalty - only for the Kumuls to hit back almost immediately with a penalty of their own, kicked by John Wilshere.

Long-range try

An opportunist try from Critchley put Wales back in front midway through the first half and brought an end to a terribly dour period of play, punctuated only by a series of irritating public address announcements.

Iestyn Harris
Wales captain Iestyn Harris leads the charge
Critchley, who is currently a union player with Leicester Tigers, seized on a wayward pass from Adrian Lam to race home from 40 yards.

Some magic from Briers increased Wales' lead as the PNG players, built like brick outhouses but lacking the power of their opponents, began to tire.

The Warrington Wolves scrum-half sold a marvellous dummy before popping over in the corner.

Substitute Davies then added a third try just before the break, with Harris, in impressive form with the boot, slotting another kick between the posts to make the half-time score 20-2.

After Harris had kicked a second penalty at the start of the second half, the Kumuls suddenly found their best form.

Wilshere reduced the deficit with his side's first try of the game 10 minutes from the end and duly kicked a difficult conversion from the right touchline.

Wales were on the back foot but eventually regained their composure, seeing out the remaining time without further mishap.


Wales: Atcheson, Sterling, Critchley, Tassell, Sullivan, Harris, Briers, Farrell, Cunningham, Morgan, Jenkins, Highton, Busby.

Replacements: Davies, Morley, Devereux, Moriarty.

Papua New Guinea: Buko, Wilshere, Aila, Songoro, Bai, Gene, Lam, Karl, Mom, Mondo, Naawi, Mamando, O'Reilly.

Replacements: Paiyo, Krewanty, Norman, Aizue.

Referee: David Pakieto (New Zealand)

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See also:

12 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Long seeks improvement
11 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Aussies crush Samoa to make semis
11 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
England storm into last four
12 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Lighting the blue touchpaper
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