England 26-27 Samoa: Shaun Wane’s side suffer defeat in Rugby World Cup semi-finals
|England (6) 26|
|Try: Whitehead, Bateman, Farnworth (2) Goals: Makinson (4) Sadness: Makinson (1)|
|Samoa (10) 27|
|Try: Lafai (2), Sao, Crichton (2) Goals: Crichton (3) drop goal: Crichton|
England suffered a shock semi-final defeat as Samoa won a golden point thriller to set up a meeting with Australia in their first World Cup final.
Stephen Crichton’s drop-goal saw the England players crumble to the ground after the teams could not be separated after 80 minutes.
The host nation beat Samoa 60-6 in the tournament opener less than a month ago, but Matt Parish’s side got sweet revenge at the Emirates Stadium.
Stephen Crichton’s second try had seen the Pacific Islanders lead 26-20 in a thrilling final before Herbie Farnworth’s second try and a Tommy Makinson conversion extended the competition.
Samoa’s victory sees them become the first team other than Australia, New Zealand, England and Great Britain to reach the tournament final in the last 50 years.
A crowd of 40,489 gathered at the home of Arsenal Football Club, a far cry from the traditional heart of northern rugby league, largely expecting Shaun Wane’s side to show dominance after having swept away all of his previous opponents.
But several unusual errors in both defense and attack saw them come undone against a ruthless Samoa side who showed great determination and were clinical in attack.
Tim Lafai’s try was an early indicator of what was to come as the highly motivated Pacific Islanders took the game to England who fell behind for the first time in the tournament.
The 31-year-old Salford center spent 2021 working as a builder after being released by the Canterbury Bulldogs, but clawed back Jarome Luai’s pass and dodged Kallum Watkins and Dom Young to cross into the left corner .
At times the aggression boiled over, with Samoa captain Junior Paulo sent to the trash for a dangerous tackle on George Williams. And it was the Warrington Wolves half-back’s searing run between the tacklers that dispatched Whitehead as the host nation responded.
England’s vulnerable right edge was exposed for the second of three occasions when model Ligi Sao saw him slip past Watkins.
Yet the contest appeared to have swung back in England’s favor when John Bateman’s try saw the hosts reclaim the lead only to then be at the end of a superb Samoa side try as Crichton moved over. above.
Farnworth’s power brought the hosts within reach as he held back three tackles and Makinson’s conversion and penalty secured a grandstand finish.
England looked imperious in their quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea just a week ago, but the concession of two tries in the first half and the frailty of the Young axis -Watkins, previously formidable, suggested that all was not well.
Young’s missed catch and exit from the defensive line contributed to Lafai’s second try of the game, while Crichton’s second of the game came courtesy of an interception of Victor Radley’s pass with England in the ‘ascending.
A lack of composure during England’s attacking sets saw several misplaced passes replace the set routines that had served them so well before.
While Watkins’ failure to score a good chance in the first half was unfortunate, a late forward pass from captain Sam Tomkins saw them pay the ultimate price for their mistakes.
England: Tomkins, Young, Watkins, Farnworth, Makinson, Welsby, Williams, Burgess, McIlorum, Hill, Whitehead, Bateman, Radley.
Trades : Knowles, Thompson, Cooper, McMeeken.
Samoa: Suaalii, To’o, Crichton, Lafai, T. May, Luai, Milford, Hunt, Brown, J. Paulo, Sao, Su’a, Kaufusi.
Trades : Harris-Tavita, Papalii, Leniu, Tuilagi.