Rugby League World Cup: England 60-6 Samoa – Welsby, Young, Watkins, Farnworth score

England (18) 60
Attempts: Welsby, Young 2, Watkins, Farnworth, Whitehead 2, Makinson, Williams, Burgess Goals: McInson 8 Penalties: McInson 2
Samoa (6) 6
Attempts: go Goals: Critchton

Hosts England opened the postponed 2021 Rugby League World Cup by dismantling desperately poor Samoa at St James’ Park.

Shaun Wane’s hosts actually went into contention against a strong and skilful Samoan outfit that featured five players from NRL Grand Final winners Penrith Panthers.

But England shook off fears of losing their start to the tournament by dominating the competition and scoring 10 tries in the toughest of group games.

They had close calls before they were awarded courtesy of Jack Welsby. Dominic Young added a quick fire second after a great run before diving in the corner for his second.

Izack Tago scored a try for Samoa when he intercepted and cleared a loose pass in the center line but they finished 18-6.

Kallum Watkins helped England run riot in the second half, as Herbie Farnworth, Elliott Whitehead – twice – Tommy Makinson, George Williams and Tom Burgess gave England a great victory.

England travel to Bolton next Saturday to take on France (5pm BST), before rounding off Group A in Sheffield against Greece on October 29.

Clinical England begins with expression gain

The opening ceremony got off to an embarrassing start for the organizers, with a “technical problem” ruining the public address system and no music playing for the dancers on the field.

Brit Award-winning band Kaiser Chiefs, who also headlined the pre-show, were cut short and could only perform one of their hit songs.

The tournament was delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opening match also started a few minutes later than billed.

When the action finally got underway, England got off to an almost perfect start, but Farnworth spilled the ball trying to touch down from Williams’ neat kick. St Helens winger Makinson, however, scored a penalty awarded for obstruction.

England had all the momentum and skipper Sam Tomkins was held under the posts, with Tom Burgess unable to hold on to the ball as it landed.

The pressure finally told when halves Williams and Welsby linked up, the Saints player scoring the first point from a short pass to ignite a subdued St James’ Park.

The 6ft 7in winger Young then showed his strength and power by cutting down the right, avoiding a number of Samoan challenges before darting between the sticks and acrobatically diving into the corner for his second.

Salford center Watkins extended the lead to 24-6 and Samoa fell to the rout after Anthony Milford was sin-binned for a late tackle on Sam Tomkins, scoring six tries in the final 16 minutes with Farnworth and Whitehead both benefiting.

And there was more when Makinson slipped into the left corner – the game ended with a tally of 24 points, including 10 conversions, and Williams and Burgess added a huge score.

The Samoans have reached the quarter-finals at the previous two World Cups and were one of the favorites to win the competition for the first time.

Although they were given a gift when Penrith center Tago intercepted Welsby’s pass to pull the score back before half-time, a combination of injuries and a complete capitulation kept England’s unwitting record intact.

England: Tomkins, Makinson, Watkins, Farnworth, Young, Welsby, Williams, Burgess, McIlorum, Thompson, Radley, Whitehead, Knowles.

Replacements: Lees, Cooper, Hill, McMeeken.

Samoa: Suaalii, Tabuai-Fidow, Tago, Crichton, To’o, Luai, Milford, Papalii, Levi, J. Paulo, Su’a, Aloiai, Tuilagi.

Replacements: Taupau, Leniu, Harris-Davita, T. May.

Sin-bin: Milford (62).

Judge: Ashley Klein (USA)