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Six Nations 2018: Start time, fixtures, results, rule changes, and full TV schedule

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Six Nations 2018: Start time, fixtures, results, rule changes, and full TV schedule
Rugby Union - 2015 RBS Six Nations Media Launch - The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London - 28/1/15 (L-R) France's Captain Thierry Dusautoir, Italy's Captain Sergio Parisse, England's Captain Chris Robshaw, Ireland's Captain Paul O'Connell, Wales' Captain Sam Warburton and Scotland's Captain Greig Laidlaw pose with the RBS Six Nations trophy during the launch Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Everything you need to know as England, Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales prepare for action

ENGLAND will be looking to become the first nation to win three successive Six Nations titles.

The 2016 and 2017 champions will be looking to defend their title when the action kicks off in February.

What is the Six Nations?

This is an annual international rugby union competition that consists of just six sides.

England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will all play each other once.

If a team wins all of its games, then they are said to have won a ‘Grand Slam’.


When does it start and what TV channel can I watch them on?

The Six Nations action will get underway on Saturday, February 3.

Wales will take on Scotland to kick-off proceedings in Cardiff.

And all of the matches will be available for you to watch live on either the BBC or ITV.

Are there any rule changes for the 2018 Six Nations?

The 2017 Six Nations introduced the bonus-point system and it WILL be used again this year.

This means that it is four points for a win and a team will secure an extra point if they score four tries or more.

If a team loses by less than seven points then they will secure a losing bonus-point.

A draw is worth two points and a Grand Slam is worth three points.


What is the fixture list for the 2018 Six Nations?


Wales vs Scotland: February 3, 2.15pm, Cardiff, BBC

France vs Ireland: February 3, 4.45pm, Paris, BBC

Italy vs England: February 4, 3pm, Rome, ITV.


Ireland vs Italy: February 10, 2.15pm, Dublin, ITV

England vs Wales: February 10, 4:45pm, London, ITV

Scotland vs France: February 11, 3pm, Edinburgh, BBC


Frances vs Italy: February 23, 8pm, Marseille, ITV

Ireland vs Wales: February 24, 2.15pm, Dublin, BBC

Scotland vs England: February 24, 4.45pm, Edinburgh, BBC


Ireland vs Scotland: March 10, 2.15pm, Dublin, ITV

France vs England: March 10, 4:45pm, Paris, BBC

Wales vs Italy: March 11, 3pm, Cardiff, BBC


Italy vs Scotland: March 17, 12:30pm, Rome, ITV

England vs Ireland: March 17, 2:45pm, London, ITV

Wales vs France: March 17, 5pm, Cardiff, BBC



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Oxford vs Cambridge Live Stream The Varsity Match Online FREE

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Oxford vs Cambridge Live Stream The Varsity Match Online FREE

Battle оf thе Blues: Oxford vѕ Cambridge Watch Thе Varsity Match

Thе Varsity Match іѕ аn annual rugby union fixture played bеtwееn thе universities оf Oxford аnd Cambridge іn England. Thе event began іn 1872, wіth interruptions оnlу fоr thе twо World Wars. Sіnсе 1921, thе game hаѕ bееn played аt Twickenham Stadium, London. It іѕ nоrmаllу played іn early December.

Fоllоwіng thе 135th match іn 2016, Oxford University RFC hаvе 59 wins, аnd Cambridge University R.U.F.C. maintain thе lead wіth 62; 14 games hаvе ended іn draws. Varsity matches bеtwееn Oxford аnd Cambridge аrе аlѕо arranged іn vаrіоuѕ оthеr sports. Fоr example, thе fіrѕt recorded water polo match іn history wаѕ played bеtwееn Oxford аnd Cambridge іn 1891.

Thе women’s rugby Varsity Match wаѕ fіrѕt played іn 1988 аnd hаѕ tаkеn place аt Twickenham оn thе ѕаmе day аѕ thе men’s game ѕіnсе 2015. Thе 2016 score wаѕ 3-0 tо Oxford.

Thursday 7 December 2017

OURFC MEN : Oxford: Oxford University Rugby Football Club :

Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) wаѕ founded іn 1869, ѕоmе fifteen months bеfоrе thе foundation оf thе Rugby Football Union. OURFC consists оf fоur men’s teams; Men’s Blues, Greyhounds (Men’s 2nd XV), Whippets (Men’s 3rd XV) аnd Men’s U20s.

Thе OURFC squad train аt play аt thеіr home ground іn Oxford, Iffley Road, whеrе thеу hаvе bееn based ѕіnсе thе 1890s.

OURFC hаvе worn Dark Blue ѕіnсе thеіr inception, winning thе fіrѕt еvеr Varsity Match іn 1872.

Durіng thіѕ time, mоrе thаn 300 Oxford players hаvе gained representative international honours; including Phil de Glanville, Joe Roff, Tyrone Howe, Anton Oliver, Simon Halliday, David Kirk аnd Rob Egerton.

Team Squad:

Hooker : Edward Hart
Centre : Henry Hughes,Alex Hogg,James Beaufils,
Full Bасk : Conor Kearns ,Matt Geiger ,
Scrum-half : Tom Kershaw,Henry de Berker,
Prop: James Scaife,Joseph Morris,Hugo Lu,Kieran Ball
Fly-half : Basil Strang ,
Wing : Tom Stileman,Ed David,
Sесоnd Row : Fergus Taylor (c),Nicholas Roberts-Huntley,Jonathan Marsden,Graeme MacGilchrist,Andrew Grant,
Bасk Row : Wіll Wilson,Will Thornton,George Blomfield,

CURUFC MEN : Cambridge: Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club

Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) wаѕ founded іn 1872, thе year thе fіrѕt Varsity Match wаѕ played аgаіnѕt Oxford. CURUFC іѕ mаdе uр оf thrее men’s teams; Men’s Blues, LX Club аnd Undеr 20s.

Thе CURUFC squad аrе based аt Grange Road, Cambridge, whісh hаѕ bееn thеіr home ѕіnсе 1896.

CURUFC originally played іn Pink bеfоrе moving tо thеіr traditional Light Blue аnd white frоm 1876.

Sіnсе inception оvеr 325 players hаvе gained international honours; including Mike Gibson, Gerald Davies, Alastair Hignell, Rob Andrew, Gavin Hastings, Dan Vickerman аnd Jamie Roberts. CURUFC hаѕ аlѕо produced mоrе players whо hаvе represented thе British аnd Irish Lions thаn аnу оthеr club, including ѕеvеn Lions captains.

Team Squad :

Prop : Henry Somers,William Briggs,Jonathan Dixon,Demitri Moros
Wing :Charlie Amesbury,Simon Davies,Lare Erogbogbo
Bасk row :Richard Bartholomew,Lola Erogbogbo, Andrew Hunter,Henry King,Ollie Phillips,
Scrum Hаlf : Chris Bell,Sebastian Tullie
Sесоnd Row : Tim Bond
Hooker : Andrew Burnett,Simon Hugkulstone
Flanker : Daniel Dass (c),Brian du Toit,Tom Stanley
Fly Hаlf : Fraser Gillies
Centre : George Griffiths,Michael Phillips,Rory Triniman,

Thе Women’s Match kicks оff аt 11:30 аnd thе Men’s Match kicks оff аt 15:00.
Twickenham Stadium, London,
Stadium Rules fоr Children:
Babes іn arms nееd tо bе іn а front carrier – buggies,
Thе Varsity Match 2017
Twickenham Stadium, London,
Thu 7 Dec 2017, 11:30

Men Thе Varsity Match 2016 results:
Men’s varsity match
Oxford (3) 18
Tries: Hughes, David Pens: Strang 2 Cons: Strang
Cambridge (7) 23
Tries: Phillips, Triniman Pens: Gillies 3 Cons: Gillies 2

Men’s varsity Match Squad 2016 :

Cambridge men: Amesbury; Davies, Triniman, Phillips, King; Gillies, Tullie; Briggs, Burnett, Dixon, Hunter, Bond, Stanley, Du Toit, Dass (c).

Replacements: Hugkulstone, Somers, Moros, Erogbogbo, Bartholomew, Bell, Erogbogbo, Griffiths.

Oxford men: Geiger; David, Hughes, Hogg, Stileman; Strang, De Berker; Ball, Hart, Morris, Taylor (c), Grant, Roberts-Huntley, Blomfield, Wilson.

Replacements: Thornton, Scaife, Lu, Marsden, MacGilchrist, Beaufils, Kershaw, Kearns

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Live: Australia vs England, Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane

Live: Australia vs England, Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane

AUSTRALIA will be hoping its Rugby League World Cup comes full circle when it plays England in the final at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The Kangaroos defeated the Poms 18-4 in the tournament opener and coasted through its next four matches to reach the decider, conceding just 16 points along the way. There are rumours tonight could see the final appearance of Billy Slater and perhaps even Cameron Smith in the green and gold, and a win would provide them with the perfect send-off if they decide to hang up the boots.

England scraped through its semi-final against Tonga to book its place against the home side tonight. Wayne Bennett’s men won 20-18 after Andrew Fifita’s try in the dying seconds was disallowed because of a knock-on and they will be hoping fortune favours them again against the Kangaroos.

Kick-off is scheduled for 8pm AEDT.



Earlier former Australian forward Gorden Tallis said he didn’t think the home side’s pack could match it with England’s big men if Sam Burgess and James Graham fired, but ex-NSW prop Mark Geyer disagreed.

“No, I don’t think they (England) have (the edge in the forwards),” Geyer told Channel Seven.

“Australia’s strength has been their forwards, in particular (David) Klemmer and (Aaron) Woods and then on comes (Reagan) Campbell-Gillard and (Jordan) McLean, with (Cameron) Smith guiding the ship.

“Their forward back has been immense. Sam Burgess tonight as captain will lead from the front and will be inspiring tonight.”

The stage is set for stand-in England skipper Sam Burgess to dominate an inferior Kangaroos pack and inspire a boilover in the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane, Gorden Tallis says.

Former Kangaroos enforcer Tallis has rated Burgess as the greatest British forward to play in the NRL and believes the South Sydney talisman can prove the difference against overwhelming favourite Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

England appeared to cop a huge blow before its first Cup final appearance in 22 years when captain Sean O’Loughlin ruled himself out with a quad injury on match eve.

But Tallis believes Burgess can still provide enough firepower to blow away what he considered a lesser Kangaroos pack.

“He is one of the best forwards I have ever seen,” Tallis told a Rugby League World Cup final function in Brisbane.

“He is the best English forward that has come out here to play, I think he is absolutely outstanding.”

Tallis believes Burgess could pack a one-two punch with England forward James Graham that could give the Australian forwards nightmares.

“If he and James Graham can play the way they do in the NRL, if they can play with that intimidation and ferocity I don’t think the Australian forward pack are as good as those guys,” Tallis said.

“Australia have a great back-row but if those two guys can light it up and play to the best of their ability I think they will give the Australian pack a real nightmare.”

Back-rower Burgess will replace O’Loughlin at lock, with Ben Currie starting on the edge and utility Jonny Lomax added to the bench.

O’Loughlin is the second key forward coach Wayne Bennett has lost in a week, following star hooker Josh Hodgson’s torn ACL in the semi-final win over Tonga.

England has not won a series involving Australia since 1972. And it last beat Australia at a World Cup in 1995.

But Burgess was daring to dream, even contemplating who would lift the trophy for England if Australia — undefeated at a World Cup since 2008 — was somehow denied.

“I don’t think it gets much better than the World Cup final and it will be a special moment, although it’s kind of bittersweet if I’m honest,” said Burgess who led England in last year’s Four Nations tournament.

“Sean has been captain the whole tournament and he’ll lift the trophy if we get to that situation.”

Laine Clark, AAP

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Final RLWC crown down to Australia v England (Live Stream) after thrilling semi final

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Final RLWC crown down to Australia v England (Live Stream) after thrilling semi final

NINE years ago, Queensland-born Wayne Bennett shattered Australia’s hearts by inspiring New Zealand to an upset victory in the 2008 World Cup final.

On Saturday in his home town of Brisbane, the 67-year-old is planning another inside job, this time with England.

In what could be the master taciturn’s final stand as a representative coach, Bennett will attempt to gift England a historic first-ever World Cup final victory over Australia.

Working as an assistant coach with the Kiwis in 2008, Bennett is back to haunt the Kangaroos after the Poms advanced to the final by ending fairytale story of the World Cup, Tonga.

Australai vs england rlwc final 2017

Main title

FROM 14 nations down to two, a thrilling finish to the last RLWC semi final means England will face Australia in a battle for the world title. This is what you need to know ahead of the big dance.

Australia v England in the RLWC 2017 final
Suncorp Stadium, Queensland
Saturday, December 2, 8pm AEDT
Australia won all three of its pool matches comfortably while England dropped its first match.


The first pool match England lost was – in fact – against Australia. Wayne Bennett’s men went down 18-4 in the first match of the tournament.


Led by a brilliant display from fullback Gareth Widdop, England prevailed in incredible and controversial circumstances over Tonga 20-18 in front of a raucous Mt Smart Stadium crowd, in Auckland yesterday.

After Tonga had rallied from 20-0 down with eight minutes remaining, Tongan forward Andrew Fifita felt he was disallowed a legitimate try as the full-time siren sounded.

Fifita was stripped of possession as he powered towards the line, before appearing to regather and plant the ball down over the tryline.

However, on-field referee Matt Cecchin refused to use the video referee to check if Fifita had scored.

A shattered Fifita needed to be consoled by opposition forward Sam Burgess after the match.

The elimination of Tonga is a blow to scriptwriters and tournament organisers, who spent yesterday privately cheering for the small Polynesian island to advance to the final — a moment which would’ve been the greatest achievement in it’s sporting history.


However, while predictable in it’s outcome, rugby league’s ‘Ashes’ between Australia and England won’t be without appeal and spice.

On the field, James Graham will attempt to stop his former Canterbury teammate David Klemmer.

Elsewhere, Widdop will use his intel from four years at the Storm to try and stop Billy Slater, Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk.

But it’s in the coaches box, which should keep the pre-match build-up busy.

Few would be so naive to believe that all is rosy between Bennett and Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.

Meninga famously fell-out with Bennett over the veteran coach’s championing, or lack their of, when his fellow Queenslander announced his intention to step away from coaching Origin to lead Australia in 2016.

The pair have since declared publicly any suggestion they “don’t get on is a fallacy’’ – a claim, that is certain to be pressure tested by journalists ahead of Saturday’s final.

Ego is also on the line for Bennett, who in two previous clashes against Meninga’s Australian side, is yet to record a victory.

Not surprisingly, Australia will start overwhelming favourites to claim their first World Cup since 2013 — punters using the Kangaroos complete domination of the tournament-to-date as their form guide.

Having conceded just 16 points on their road to the final, the Kangaroos attack has piled on a thumping 204 points.

No doubt, Meninga will also confidently analyse where Australia can improve from their opening pool match against England.

The tournament-opener, played 29-days ago at AAMI Park, saw a clunky Kangaroos do enough to outclass England 18-4.

Most recently, the Kangaroos put the cleaners through Fiji 54-6 in their semi-final on Friday night — winger Valentine Holmes, continuing his dream tournament.

Holmes’ outrageous six tries against Fiji took his tally to 12 for the tournament and in a stand-and-cheer match-up, the Cronulla star will duel with England’s own try-sneak, Jermaine McGilvary.

The powerful right winger opened the scoring for England yesterday — his seventh try in five games.

Unlike Australia, who are already in Brisbane preparing for the final, England will be required to recover and travel from Auckland to Brisbane.

One player who will need every minute of the next six days to recover is England and Canberra hooker, Josh Hodgson.

Hodgson limped from the field with a left knee injury in the 23rd minute yesterday — unable to return.

Source: dailytelegraph.com.au

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Rugby League World Cup 2017 Final Game : England v Australia Miss Josh Hodgson

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Rugby League World Cup 2017 Final Game : England v Australia  Miss Josh Hodgson

Rugby League World Cup 2017: England’s Josh Hodgson to miss final with knee injury

Rugby League World Cup final: Australia v England
Date: Saturday, 2 December Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

England hooker Josh Hodgson will miss Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia with a knee ligament injury.

The 28-year-old sustained the injury in England’s dramatic 20-18 win over Tonga in the semi-finals.

A scan on Sunday showed Hodgson has an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is almost certain to miss the start of the NRL season with Canberra Raiders.

“Hodgson will now return to Canberra for a specialist review with a view to operate,” said an England spokesman.

Former Hull KR captain Hodgson has started four of England’s five matches at the World Cup.

He limped off after 23 minutes of the victory over Tonga at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday and failed to return.

James Roby, who started on the bench against Tonga, won his 30th cap as a replacement for Hodgson and the St Helens man claimed he is ready to step into a starting role.

“It’s obviously bad news for Josh and I feel for him,” Roby said. “If that means me starting, I’m going to have to get ready to get going from the off.”

With no other specialist hooker in his 24-man squad, England head coach Wayne Bennett may call on the versatile Stefan Ratchford or half-back George Williams to provide back-up against the Kangaroos – though Roby says he is ready to play a full game if needed.

“I’m used to playing 80 minutes, but these World Cup games are that intense,” he added. “If I have to do 80, I’ll put my hand up and do my best.”

England have yet to provide an update on captain Sean O’Loughlin, who is also a fitness doubt after picking up a thigh strain against Tonga.

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All Blacks v Wales live stream, how to watch New Zealand rugby Test, scores, updates, video, highlig…

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All Blacks v Wales live stream, how to watch New Zealand rugby Test, scores, updates, video, highlig…

WARREN Gatland, the former New Zealand hooker who coaches Wales, doesn’t believe the All Blacks are ever vulnerable.

The flatterer also said this week they could put out a fourth, fifth or sixth best side and still beat most other teams.

Gatland was purring because he didn’t want to rile up New Zealand before their rugby Test in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday 4.15am AEDT).

Wales has lost 29 successive Tests to New Zealand, including 10 on Gatland’s watch.

But if he had said they were vulnerable, nobody could argue with him.

Since beating South Africa 57-0 in mid-September, when some…

Live coverage of All Blacks v Wales rugby Test in Cardiff

WARREN Gatland, the former New Zealand hooker who coaches Wales, doesn’t believe the All Blacks are ever vulnerable.

The flatterer also said this week they could put out a fourth, fifth or sixth best side and still beat most other teams.

Gatland was purring because he didn’t want to rile up New Zealand before their rugby Test in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday 4.15am AEDT).

Wales has lost 29 successive Tests to New Zealand, including 10 on Gatland’s watch.

But if he had said they were vulnerable, nobody could argue with him.

Since beating South Africa 57-0 in mid-September, when some observers believed the All Blacks were occupying another universe, the team has come back to earth.

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— In the return match in Cape Town, New Zealand trailed by two with 10 to go, but prevailed 25-24 with a late clinching Lima Sopoaga penalty.

— Australia in Brisbane ended a two-year losing drought to the All Blacks.

— France rallied from 31-5 down at halftime to 31-18 and lost the momentum after a try was disallowed.

— And lastly, Scotland outplayed the All Blacks for long periods last weekend but failed when it mattered most.

The All Blacks have been vulnerable, and lost two tTsts this year for the first time since 2011. But even in the face of yellow cards, penalties, and a welter of handling errors, the All Blacks have still proved tough to take out.

Newcomers have had an immediate effect, even when teamwork has taken time to gel.

That’s been the positive for coach Steve Hansen.

“I thought 2016 would be a tough year (after the post-Rugby World Cup retirements) but we got through it pretty well and unscathed from an adversity point of view, apart from Chicago,” Hansen said.

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“But this year we’ve had to work hard and it’s been good for us. It’s put us in places mentally where we’ve got to go inside ourselves and find the strength and the courage to get the job done, and by and large we’ve done that. It’s been a good year for the team because we’ve had to grow.”

Wales forwards Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, and Taulupe Faletau and scrumhalf Rhys Webb joined an exclusive club of Welshmen to have beaten New Zealand when they were part of the British and Irish Lions who won the second Test in June in Wellington.

What Owens took away from that tour was not just belief but also keys to victory: The need to put New Zealand under sustained pressure, stay intense, win the collisions, bring line speed in defence, and keep it going for all 80 minutes.

“They never feel they can be beaten,” Owens mused.

“Even when they are under a bit of pressure, they do find ways out and ways of winning the game when they are perhaps not at their best. If you look at the Scotland game they were under pressure — Scotland played really well — but they found their moments of magic.”

In another tough autumn schedule, Wales has already lost to Australia 29-21, and tackles South Africa next week.

Gatland favours playing the best sides to draw the best out of his team, even though his record against the southern hemisphere powers is pitiful: Two wins in 30 matches.

Which makes him scoff at any notion these All Blacks are vulnerable.

“They are undefeated on this tour. They know how to win, they know how to grind out performances, and they know how to come back,” Gatland said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to play the best team in the world. If you can’t get up for that, then you shouldn’t be on the pitch.

“As a group, we haven’t spoken about the summer (Lions tour) and what happened in New Zealand. It is about Wales and us concentrating on ourselves.”

Wales v New Zealand teams

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Hallam Amos, Scott Williams, Owen Williams, Steff Evans; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler; Alun Wyn Jones (c), Jake Ball; Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Rob Evans

Reserves: Kristian Dacey, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Justin Tipuric, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie; Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Luke Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire; Sam Whitelock (c), Patrick Tuipulotu; Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Kane Hames

Reserves: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown

Referee: Wayne Barnes (ENG)


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Australia Kangaroos vs England rugby Live Stream RLWC Final 2017 Dec 2

Australia Kangaroos vs England rugby Live Stream RLWC Final 2017 Dec 2

Australia smashes Fiji in Rugby League World Cup semi-final

kangaroos vs fiji

Kangaroos winger Valentine Holmes created history by scoring six tries in his side’s 54-6 World Cup semi-final win over Fiji on Friday night.

Just a week after registering five tries against Samoa, the Cronulla flyer showed that was no fluke. His 11 tries in two games gives him 12 tries for the tournament, overtaking the previous record of most tries at a World Cup held by Broncos legend Wendell Sailor (10).

It was a stunning display by the 22-year-old who only made his representative debut last year, and played Origin for the first time in 2017. But he clearly enjoys the big stage.

He slammed down two four-pointers in the first half and celebrated his hat-trick two minutes into the second stanza when he reeled in an intercept 10m out from his own line before running the length of the field to score.

Billy Slater stole the limelight from him briefly when he sliced through from a scrum but Holmes didn’t take long to make sure all eyes were back on him as some crisp ball movement saw him stroll over from close range when Josh Dugan drew his defender and passed to his unmarked teammate.

The NSW star set Holmes up again when he hit him on the chest even after stumbling from 10m out to make it five tries for the young gun. Keen to go one better than last week, he didn’t disappoint, racing 50m down the sideline to put the finishing touches on a memorable night.

Despite his individual effort, Holmes was quick to praise his teammates after the match.

“A big credit to the team. It is an unbelievable team I’m playing in — probably the best team I’ve played in. Some great players in there,” Holmes said. “And obviously myself, six tries.

“I’m loving the tournament so far and very happy we have made the final now and I just want to relax and soak it up and get ready for next week.”

Rugby league icons were in awe of what the winger served up.

“We’ll never see this again, surely,” Canberra great Gary Belcher said in commentary for Channel Seven. “Gobsmacked.”

“It’s unbelievable,” former Penrith enforcer Mark Geyer added. “If you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes, you wouldn’t believe it.

“I don’t think I’ll ever see that again in my lifetime.

“Valentine Holmes has burst on the rugby league scene like an asteroid from out of space. He is great to watch.”

Coach Mal Meninga voiced his displeasure at his team’s training standards this week but he needn’t have worried as Australia dominated the first half.

The Bati opened the scoring with a penalty goal but that’s all they had to smile about as the home side showed its class to race to a 22-2 lead at the break.

The game started with plenty of fire, Jarryd Hayne’s illegal shoulder charge on Slater sparking a wild melee. The hit sat Slater on his backside but his teammates took exception to Hayne’s methods and another Fijian defender showing the No. 1 some extra attention on the ground, jumping in to defend the Storm star.

Back-rower Matt Gillett bombed a certain try with only the fullback to beat when his low pass to his outside floated forward and evaded Dane Gagai’s grasp, spilling over the sideline.

But the hosts’ attack clicked after 15 minutes when five-eighth Michael Morgan slid across to the left and shrugged off an attempted tackle. Fiji’s right-side defence had rushed up and once Morgan was through, it was easy to find the unmarked Slater on his outside for the opening try.

Holmes made it 12-2 when Fijian flyer Suliasi Vunivalu misjudged a bomb, leaping too early and watching in horror as the ball landed safely in Holmes’ arms on the tryline.

The Aussie winger went in again when he was the beneficiary of an overlap after the ball went through the hands to the left.

Gagai then stepped twice off his right foot to beat two defenders and score a four-pointer when he received an early ball from Cooper Cronk 20m out from Fiji’s line.

80th min — FULL-TIME: AUS 54 FIJI 6

76th min — TRY: Valentine Holmes is making international rugby league look like the easiest thing in the world, scoring his sixth try of the semi-final. He received the ball on the halfway line and raced down the left touchline to plant the ball in the in-goal once more. AUS 54 FIJI 6

70th min — TRY: Billy Slater scored a try from a scrum earlier, this time he set one set. In an eerily similar play to the one that resulted in a four-pointer seven minutes after half-time, the fullback passed instead of dummying to allow Dane Gagai to muscle his through the defence and score his second try of the night. AUS 50 FIJI 6

66th min — TRY: Valentine Holmes has remarkably scored five tries in a game for the second consecutive week. Josh Dugan almost blew it when he held onto the ball and stumbled, but he was able to fling the ball to Holmes on the left wing where he crossed for his fifth. “We’ll never see this again, surely,” Canberra great Gary Belcher said in commentary for Channel Seven. “Gobsmacked.” Colleague Mark Braybrook said it was “unbelievable”. Australian winger Wendell Sailor held the record for most tries in a World Cup with 10, but Holmes’ recent blitz sees him overtake that with 11 for the tournament. AUS 46 FIJI 6

60th min — TRY: Fiji’s Akuila Uate made a line break but couldn’t beat Billy Slater, dragged down 30m out from Australia’s line. That wasn’t the end of Fiji’s hopes though, Kevin Naiqama passing to Suliasi Vunivalu who did an extraordinary job of picking the ball off his bootlaces, his momentum carrying him over the stripe as he struggled to stay on his feet. AUS 40 FIJI 6

52nd min — Valentine Holmes now has four tries for the match, showing the five he scored against Samoa last week was no fluke. Some crisp ball movement out to the left saw the ball in Josh Dugan’s hands and he drew and passed from two metres out to hand Holmes another four-pointer on a platter. AUS 40 FIJI 2

47th min — TRY: Bill Slater dumped more pain on Fiji when he scored from a scrum. He received the ball on a second-man play and shaped to pass himself but he didn’t need any help, turning on the afterburners to slice through the Fijian defence and extend Australia’s advantage to 32. AUS 34 FIJI 2

42nd min — TRY: A week after scoring five tries against Samoa in Darwin Valentine Holmes registered a hat-trick against Fiji with an opportunistic intercept. Fiji was on the attack and threatened Australia’s line after retrieving an unintentional charge-down on the halfway line, but when fullback Kevin Naiqama passed to his outside backs, he watched in despair as Holmes plucked the ball out of the air before running the length of the field to score. AUS 28 FIJI 2

40th min — HALF-TIME: Australia botched a late attacking raid but still went into the sheds with a comfortable lead. AUS 22 FIJI 2

38th min — NO TRY: Australia almost benefited from a Hail Mary play after Cameron Smith grubbered on the halfway line. Cooper Cronk was first to the ball and got his boot to it again, putting Billy Slater in a race with Fiji’s halfback Henry Raiwalui to claim the Steeden. They both made a play for it but the video referee correctly ruled Slater knocked it forward into Michael Morgan’s hands, preventing the five-eighth’s try from standing.

37th min — KNOCK-ON: Fiji showed some spark as it ventured into enemy territory, but couldn’t regather a bomb on the right wing, handing the ball back to the hosts.

32nd min — TRY: Dane Gagai joined in on Australia’s pointscoring act when he found himself with time and space after receiving early, clean ball from Cooper Cronk. The winger stepped off his right foot 20m out from the line to beat Akuila Uate then put a similar move on the fullback to score a meat pie. AUS 22 FIJI 2

29th min — Fiji made a rare foray into Australia’s half but some adlib footy on the last tackle didn’t come off and the referee ordered a changeover 30m out from the Kangaroos’ line.

26th min — TRY: Valentine Holmes crossed for his second try of the night after the home side enjoyed a slice of luck. Cameron Smith’s grubber rebounded off a Fijian player back into the Aussies’ possession, and when they shifted the ball through the hands to the left edge it was a simple matter of taking advantage of an overlap to gift the Kangaroos winger another try. AUS 16 FIJI 2

25th min — Josh Dugan screamed out in agony as he tried to crash over for a try metres out from the line, but he recovered well enough to play the ball and stay on the park.

20th min — Play came to a stop when Jacob Saifiti went down with what looked to be a knee injury, which forced him off the field.

16th min — TRY: The Kangaroos went in again when Fijian winger Suliasi Vunivalu leapt up to catch a cross-field kick on his tryline, only to watch it sail agonisingly over him and into the waiting arms of Valentine Holmes, who crossed for an easy four-pointer. AUS 12 FIJI 2

14th min — TRY: Australia drew first blood when Fiji’s right-side defence made a mess of stopping the men in green and gold. Pivot Michael Morgan angled towards the left as Fiji’s outside men rushed up. He shrugged off one tackle to break the line, leaving three unmarked teammates on his outside. He passed to Billy Slater for an easy touchdown and Cameron Smith converted. AUS 6 FIJI 2

13th min — Cooper Cronk forced a line dropout with a perfectly weighted kick into the corner early in the tackle count. Dane Gagai chased and tackled his opposite winger in the in-goal.

9th min — BOMBED TRY: Matt Gillett had a shocker when he bombed a certain try. He broke through the defensive line about 25m out from Fiji’s line and had two men on his outside with only the fullback in front of him. He passed to his right but it missed the mark by plenty, going down and forward to evade Dane Gagai and spill over the sideline.

7th min — PENALTY GOAL: Fiji opened the scoring by slotting a penalty goal. FIJI 2 AUS 0

5th min — KNOCK-ON: Aussie winger Valentine Holmes took a hit up close to his own line but lost the ball in contact with lock Tui Kamikamica.

2nd min — HAYNE SHOT IGNITES BIFF: A brawl erupted after Jarryd Hayne shoulder-charged Billy Slater. A teammate came in and gave Slater’s head some extra attention when he was on the ground, causing the Aussies to run in and defend their fullback.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga admits Jarryd Hayne will have a point to prove when he spearheads the Bati in Friday’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final against Australia.

Four years after helping the Kangaroos crush Fiji at the same stage of the tournament, Hayne will now be Australia’s biggest threat following his omission from the green-and-gold this year.

Asked if Hayne had a point to prove against the Kangaroos, Meninga said: “He probably has from his point of view I guess.

“From our point of view, we’re happy with the squad and I’m really happy with the way all the individuals have been playing and bought into what we’re doing.”

Meninga’s comments on Thursday come three weeks after he criticised the code-hopper for his likely move from the Gold Coast after the tournament. It is widely tipped Hayne will reunite with Parramatta over the summer following reports he’s moved out of his home on the glitter strip.

Meninga identified Hayne, who has four try assists and two tries in the tournament, as the man to shut down at Suncorp Stadium.

“He’s their control man. Fiji’s getting through their sets and he’s putting a good kick in or controlling the ends of sets really well,” he said. “He can play anywhere Jarryd if he puts his mind to it. He can play one, he can play centre, wing — which he does at rep level — and six for Fiji. He’s that type of player.

“He’s a great individual, a great talent and he can play a number of positions. All those positions would suit him.”

Fiji coach Mick Potter said he couldn’t speak highly enough of Hayne’s contributions for the Bati, where he has led the team to a perfect four wins from four.

“I hadn’t watched him closely away but his contribution at six when he’s playing with us, he’s helping steer the team around the park,” Potter said. “He’s come up with really good kick plays, he’s come up with really good plays for his outside men. He knows the game. He’s been excellent. “I can’t speak highly enough of him as far as how he’s been helping us.”

AAP : newsapi.com.au

England rugby league

Rugby League World Cup: As it happened – Tonga vs England 18-20

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Rugby League World Cup: As it happened – Tonga vs England

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Rugby League World Cup: As it happened – Tonga vs England

FULLTIME: TONGA 18 ENGLAND 20: An incredible game of rugby league, just incredible. England looked for all money they were going to cruise to victory. Instead, Tonga made an inspired comeback led by their big guns. They came extremely close to grabbing the match-winning try, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’re set for an Australia v England final.

80mins: Drama here! Tonga had one last play and Fifita decided to go himself and the ball stripped, before picking it up and putting the ball down over the line. But the ref rules the ball to have gone forward and that’s it! England win, just!

78mins: TRY TONGA: Can you believe it?! They’ve got another! Taumalolo goes right through the English defence, avoiding two English tacklers before finding Lolohea on the inside who races away for the try. Conversion is good and England lead 20-18! Can Tonga complete a remarkable comeback?

75mins: TRY TONGA: They’re in again! Is there time for another? Siliva Havili goes right up in the middle, before stepping the last defender to go over for his side’s second try in 2 minutes.

73mins: TRY TONGA: Tevita Pangai Junior finally gets a try for Tonga! The reserve had to muscle his way through three English tacklers before reaching out and JUST touching the white line with the ball, with the TMO deeming the player to have not made a double movement. Conversion is good! Three scores in six minutes possible?

67mins: TRY ENGLAND: John Bateman is over and that should seal it! England went left off just the second tackle, ball went through the hands and Batemen did well to spin out of the tackle of Hopoate to score what should be the try that sends them to the final. They’ve been extremely clinical. Extras are good again and the score is 20-0 with just over 10 minutes to go.

67mins: England force the line dropout after a great kick Gale finds Hopoate in his own goal area, who actually did really well by fending off Gale, but re-inforcements come and England will have another set.

65mins: Tongo close once again! Jennings put the foot down, gliding through the English defence, but couldn’t find his winger out wide, with the ball instead going into touch. Been a case of so close, yet so far for the Tongans tonight.

62mins: Fusitu’a goes close! Hingano put the bomb up and you would have backed the winger to go up and get it, but the ball eludes him and the English defence. Tonga then guilty of trying to force the issue by attempting to pin the English in their own goal area, but instead, tackle the player in the air.

58mins: Between Whitehead, Sam and Tom Burgess, they have completely shut down the Tongan forwards. Taumalolo hasn’t been a massive feature, but hasn’t been on the field that much either. Tonga have the ball in great field position, only a few metres out from the English try line.

55mins: Tonga again make the error and another promising set ends with a costly mistake. The English are doing incredibly well to scramble on defence, but Tonga need to start making good of their sets, they need three scores.

50mins: PENALTY GOAL ENGLAND: Widdop puts England further in front with a penalty goal from about 35m out. The lead grows to 14-0. Looks like Tonga will need to produce another comeback win if they are to book their spot in the final.

46mins: Tupou blew a great chance for Tonga to hit back immediately after the break but couldn’t hang on! They tall winger found space but couldn’t hold onto the ball in what looked like a certain try.

42mins: And we’re underway for the second-half! Can Tonga take control of this game and make their chances count? Both teams have been superb on defence, but England have made the most of their opportunities. Early on and Tonga win the penalty.

HALFTIME: TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12: England have been the better side and the 12 points difference is pretty reflective of that. They have been far more clinical and have really fronted up well to the physicality of the Tongan players, in particular, Tom Burgess has been immense since coming onto the field. Tonga though can be proud of their performance on defence in the second 20, and should be confident heading into the break.

38mins: Errors starting to mount now from both teams. England almost go over yet again through the Burgess, Sam, but the ball touched a Tongan player and the Englishman couldn’t hang on. Tonga have really stepped up on defence since the first two scores.

36mins: Another chance for England ends in an error from a Tongan player right in front of their try line. Widdop put the kick through and the Tongans couldn’t contain it.

34mins: England had a great chance to score again, but an attempted pass from Graham to main man at the moment, Tom Burgess wasn’t good enough and Tonga win the scrum right in front of their own try line.

32mins: Fusitu’a saves the day for Tonga as the winger realised England had the overlap on the left and raced up to make the tackle before the final pass could be made.

30mins: Fifita goes close as he tried to take on several English players, but the ref rules the big man to have lost the ball in contact. Tonga making probing runs, but nothing to show for it yet.

28mins: Tonga win the penalty after a great run by Michael Jennings.  The centre found some space before forcing the English tackler to hold on for too long.

26mins: Oh my god. Burgess just put yet another Tongan down, this time, the Englishman had the ball. Looked for all money he was going to be smashed but instead the Tongan player is worse off and is actually in quite a bit of trouble.

24mins: Tom Burgess has only just come on the field and has already put in three HUGE shots to send the Tongan players backwards and on their bum. Tonga do win the penalty though, can they hit back?

20mins: Lolohea makes an error and kicks the ball dead. Was a promising set for the Tongans and they had a real chance to pin England back in their own goal area.

18mins: TRY ENGLAND: Widdop is have a stormer so far! The fullback goes over after the TMO deemed the Tongan player to have not completed his tackle just a metre out from the try line. There wasn’t much of a build-up really, Widdop got the ball out on the right, before going through a couple of really average Tongan tacklers. Conversion is good by that man again, Widdop and England lead 12-0.

16mins: Tonga go incredibly close! Wow! The Tongan backs put the ball through the hands out wide before Hurrell is put through a giant gap in the English defensive line. The ball went through several Tongan hands but the last pass is deemed to have gone forward with the men in red only inches from the try line! Hard luck after some great attacking play.

14mins: Taumalolo and Burgess have already had a couple of run ins. But this time the Cowboys powerhouse is penalised and England win another penalty. James Graham is currently down for the English.

12mins: TRY ENGLAND: Jermaine McGillvary goes over after England simply just put the ball through the hands before finding the winger out wide with nobody in front of him to score an easy try. Conversion is good and England lead 6-0.

11mins: Widdop goes right through! The Tongan defence parted like the red sea as the fullback broke the line but was eventually caught inside the Tongan 20m.

9mins: Fusitu’a finds some space out wide by is shut down well my several English players. They are keeping a very close eye on the star winger.

7mins: Lolohea puts the ball after a solid set from the Tongans, but Widdop takes it well and now England look to advance.

4mins: England go very close to scoring after some great enterprising play out wide, but an attempted pass out the back only finds a Tongan player.

2mins: Tonga kickoff and James Graham has the first hitup goes down quite anticlimatically. Tonga are pinged later on and England win the penalty.

6:07pm: Incredible cultural dance performed by Tonga. Noise and intensity similar to that of when they played Samoa in group play. Taumalolo once again leading.

6:02pm: Time for the anthems with England first up, shortly followed by Tonga. Loud, loud reception to the Tongan anthem! The crowd are certainly up for it!

6:00pm: So, here we are, semi-final number two! Who will play Australia for all the glory? Can Tonga keep their dream run alive? The stadium is just an absolute sea of red, which of course, is no surprise at all. Might be bit of a cliche, but the battle will surely be won up front. Taumalolo & Fifita up against Burgess brothers and James Graham. Going to be  a cracker!

Hello and welcome to live updates of the Rugby League World Cup semi-final clash between Tonga and England at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.

We bring you live streaming written commentary, live action shots from the game and post-match video highlights after the final whistle.

Be sure to refresh your browser to keep up with the play.

Commentary will start from around 6:00 pm (NZT). In the meantime check out the video above as James Graham talks about the threat Tonga ahead of their semi-final showdown.



1. Will Hopoate, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3.Michael Jennings, 4. Konrad Hurrell, 5. David Fusitua, 6. Tuimoala Lolohea, 7. Ata Hingano, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11. Manu Ma’u, 12. Sika Manu, 13. Jason Taumalolo

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa, 15. Peni Terepo, 16. Tevita Pangai Junior, 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila


1. Gareth Widdop,  2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. John Bateman, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. James Graham,  11. Sam Burgess, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 10. Sean O’Loughlin

Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Thomas Burgess, 16. Ben Currie, 17. James Roby

Match stats and facts

Referee: Matt Cecchin

Sideline officials:  Chris Butler and Robert Hicks

Past meetings

Head to head: Played 2, Tonga 0, England 2

Match odds: Tonga $2.35, England $1.55

Pre match banter: England prop James Graham believes Tonga shouldn’t be referred to as a ‘tier-two team’

England prop James Graham doesn’t believe Tonga should be referred to a ‘tier-two’ team ahead of their Rugby League World Cup semi-final showdown in Auckland.

Tonga have been the team on everybody’s lips after a number of players opted to represent the island nation over the likes of New Zealand and Australia.

As a result, Tonga are now 80 minutes away from the grand final in Brisbane – all that stands in their way is the English.

During pool play, Tonga became the first tier-two team to trump a tier-one nation (Australia, New Zealand, England) when they beat the Kiwis 28-22 after trailing 16-2 at the break.

But speaking to the media, the Dragons-bound Graham said it is not fair to refer to them as a tier two nation after their success in the tournament.

“I wouldn’t be referring to them as a tier-two team,” Graham told reporters

“I am expecting the best Tonga team possible for them to play their best rugby league, better than the performance you saw against the Kiwis.

“That is what we are ready for and that is the way we have to approach this Test match.”

England have not been in a Rugby League World Cup final since 1995, and are hopeful of being the side to play against Australia or Fiji on December 2.

But first, they have to get past the unbeaten Tongans – and despite heading into the match as favourites, Graham knows Mate Ma’a Tonga will be no pushovers.

“It is going to be huge Test on the body physically, but my excitement levels are on the up.

“Only a few days out from a World Cup semi-final and the opportunity to go to Brisbane and playoff for the trophy is really exciting.

“It is always a big game when you play these kind of teams, Tonga and Samoa, in New Zealand and Australia.

“Every game, I have been a part of trying to stick with the philosophy that it takes 80 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes to win a game of rugby league but only a moment to lose it – so I think what I can presume will be a tight game, I think that is the best way of going about it, really.”

England have not been in New Zealand for long, having played the all their games so far in Australia.

Graham admitted he was surprised to see all the Tongan flags on vehicles in Auckland, and is expecting a massive sea of red at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday evening.

“We have only been in Auckland for a day and we can see how many Tongan flags are out in the cars and stuff.

“Our English supporters have been out in great numbers and very vocal for us which is great to see.

“It really feels like we are in a World Cup, and that atmosphere will help build no doubt a great occasion for rugby league, going forward.”


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Live Rugby League World Cup updates: Tonga v England

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Live Rugby League World Cup updates: Tonga v England

Follow live updates of the Rugby League World Cup semifinal as Tonga take on England at Mount Smart Stadium.

The sudden-death clash will decide which team goes through to face reigning champions Australia in next week’s tournament final in Brisbane, after the Kangaroos maintained their unbeaten run with last night’s emphatic 54-6 win over Fiji.

  • 4 minutes ago
  • 5 minutes ago
    It is deafening
  • 5 minutes ago
    Time for the haka
  • 6 minutes ago
    A racuous ovation to the anthem’s conclusion, with King Tupou in attendance, and kick-off just moments away
  • 7 minutes ago
    And now Tonga
  • 9 minutes ago
    England anthem up first
  • 9 minutes ago
    A sea of red and white – mostly Tongan flags – welcome them out. Huge noise as they arrive
  • 10 minutes ago
    The teams are in the tunnel and being welcomed out onto Mt Smart with a traditional Maori welcome
  • 12 minutes ago
    Kiaora koutou, welcome to what should be a barnburner of a clash at Mount Smart today. We’ve got the anthems and haka to come, before we get into the action and find out who will play Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final
  • 14 minutes ago
    That’s me for today. Niall Anderson will be taking over for the live commentary. He probably knows way more about league than I do. Enjoy the game everyone!


Team news:
Tonga: 1. William Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. David Fusitua 6.Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11.Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu 13. Jason Taumalolo.
Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Peni Terepo 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Reserves: 18. Sam Moa 19. Manu Vatuvei
England: 1. Gareth Widdop 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6.Kevin Brown 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin.
Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Thomas Burgess 16. Ben Currie 17. James Roby.
Reserves: 18. Jonny Lomax 19. Chris Heighington


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Rugby League World Cup: England vs Tonga Live Coverage The Lions v Mate Ma’a get big boost for 2nd semi-final clash in Auckland

Rugby League World Cup: England vs Tonga Live Coverage The Lions v Mate Ma’a get big boost for 2nd semi-final clash in Auckland

England playmaker Kevin Brown and star forward Sam Burgess have both passed fitness tests and are right as rain for Saturday’s Rugby League World Cup semi- final against Tonga, assistant coach Denis Betts says.

The Warrington-based Brown, the beneficiary of linchpin Gareth Widdop’s fullback switch, suffered a head knock in last week’s 36-6 win over Papua New Guinea.

He was duly named in the matchday XVII for this weekend’s semi-final in Auckland, but needed to pass concussion protocols during the week.

Betts told reporters he had done so and would play against Mate Ma’a, while Burgess – named in the second row – had overcome an ankle issue.

“Kevin’s fit, he’s always been fit, never in doubt – just had to run through the protocols at this point. He’s been really good all week, and Sam’s been great – we’ve been really fortunate at the moment, got a full squad training,” Betts said.

“All the stuff we’ve put in place now that the game’s trying to protect people with, we’ve put (Brown) through those things, he’s got the all-clear.”

Betts backed the 33-year-old Brown to shine against a bustling Tonga, having coached the veteran stand-off and named him captain at Widnes.

Brown moved to Super League big guns Warrington for the start of the 2017 campaign, but couldn’t help the Cestrians finish higher than ninth.

He’ll join Castleford star Luke Gale in the halves for Saturday’s match, with his game management and experience to prove crucial.

“He’s had some ups and downs in his career and he’s been through the mill, in the international side, out of the side, fought his way back in,” Betts said.

“He’s always been a big player that can turn up in a big game and put big plays on.”


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