Mon, Nov 27, 8:14am by Staff Writer
Australia and England will line up for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final next weekend in Brisbane. The two famous old rivals managed to get the best of Fiji and Tonga, respectively, in the Semi Finals to set up an incredible Final.
Valentine Holmes was the star of the show again for the Kangaroos as they easily overcame Fiji. Scoring six tries on Friday night, to surpass his own record of five from the Quarters, Holmes has certainly established himself on the wing. Australia dominated the game from the outset, not allowing Fiji to get a foothold in the game despite scoring the opening points from a penalty. The Kangaroos clinical performance was the second in two weeks as they followed up their emphatic win over Samoa.
For Fiji, a second win over a tier 1 nation was not to be, as they were out played by a star studded Australian side across the field. After beating New Zealand in the Quarter Finals, hopes were high for the Bati but they could not replicate the same defensive intensity as the week before. It was always going to be tough to match that performance in such a short turn around. Although the score line was one sided, Fiji certainly made their mark on this tournament.
England and Tonga produced one of the more remarkable games ever of rugby league. As Tonga almost produced a sensational comeback in the final eight minutes of the match as well a potential match winning try that was not awarded. Tonga have lit up this World Cup with their performances including a first ever win over New Zealand. The fairy tale finish was not to be, despite coming from 20-0 down to only lose by two points to England in the dying seconds. Tonga won’t be taking a place in the Final, but they will most certainly be remembered after the tournament and their performances must surely demand a change in the international fixture calendar.
A resolute defensive display from England kept Tonga at bay for most of the match and appeared to have secured them a place in the Final. That was before the unbelievable closing stages, with the English only just hanging on to reach a first World Cup Final in 22 years. With memories of the 2013 World Cup Semi Final in their minds when they lost to New Zealand in the last ten seconds, the relief in the English players faces was visible. Prior to the comeback, England had looked composed in attack and battle hardened in defence after a tough World Cup campaign.
The mind games have already begun between the two coaches and will no doubt continue in the build up to the Final. Australia, as they have been from the start, remain favourites to lift the World Cup priced at $1.14. Whilst England will relish the chance to spoil the party in Brisbane and overcome a price of $5.75.
Rugby League World Cup Final Winner – Sportsbet
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