PHOTOS: 'The Big Hit' at Wembley, Rugby League World Cup 2013

  • 23/11/2013

England were left shell-shocked and heartbroken after seeing victory slip from their grasp by two points in an epic Rugby League World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley on Saturday.

Steve McNamara's men looked to have done enough to dethrone the world champions after coming from 14-8 down to lead 18-14 with a 67th-minute try from man of the match Sam Burgess.

They were still ahead with just 21 seconds left but the Kiwis had the last say when scrum-half Shaun Johnson scored with the last play of the match to level at 18-18.

Johnson then kept his nerve to kick the non-too-difficult conversion, his fourth goal of the game, to seal a 20-18 victory and put New Zealand into a third consecutive final at Old Trafford next weekend.

The English are still waiting to add to their 1972 triumph.

Twenty-year-old wing sensation Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had earlier scored two tries for the Kiwis, taking his total for the tournament to eight, while England's other try-scorers were Sean O'Loughlin and Kallum Watkins.

It was the third consecutive time that England had been thwarted by the Kiwis but they could not have done any more to end their 18-year wait to reach the final.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney admitted his men were lucky.

"We thought England had a great game today," Kearney told BBC One. "We kept fighting and hanging in there. We were fortunate today."

Man-of-the-match Burgess said he would rather trade in the award for a victory.

"Very disappointed," he said. "I would rather have the win than this medal.

"We put a lot of hard work into this tournament and we probably did not get what we deserved.

"It's going to take a while to get over this one. The lads are very disappointed."

England coach Steve McNamara said: "It's a tough way to go out, but high level sport can be cruel at times.

"We did a lot of things right in this game. We played tremendously well."


source: newshub archive