England can now look forward to a Rugby league World Cup semi-final.
Yes, Shaun Wane’s side are headed to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium next week for a semi-final clash against the winner of Tonga vs Samoa tomorrow at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium.
England booked their place in the last four with a statement win over Papua New Guinea today who were widely expected to really test Wane’s side.
At Wigan Warriors’ DW Stadium, England produced a near perfect first half against PNG, it was perhaps the best 40 minutes of rugby by any side in the competition yet.
They led 38-0 after 30 minutes with a hat-trick from St Helens star Tommy Makinson and further tries from Tom Burgess, Dom Young, George Williams and Salford Red Devils’ Kallum Watkins.
In the BBC studio, former St Helens man Jon Wilkin described it as, “Shaun Wane’s dream start to a game.”
Meanwhile, Super League’s most successful player and Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Peacock believed that the first half from England would not only see them leading against any other team in the World Cup but be 12-18 points ahead.
He said: “I think that first 40 minutes there, play that against other team in the world, I don’t care who they are, you go in at halftime in front. In fact, you’ll be winning by 12 or even 18 points, never mind the quality of Australia and New Zealand, Tonga or Samoa.”
Peacock was also keen to praise the humbleness of the side: “I think there is a real humbleness in the side, I think that first 30 minutes was built on a tremendous effort.”
This was evident in a sloppy second half. As Makinson crossed for two more tries to make it a record breaking five, England’s brilliance lay in superb linespeed.