This weekend’s international rugby is now in the rear-view mirror which means one thing: it’s next stop World Cup.
All roads lead to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park next week as England meet Samoa in the World Cup opener at 14:30 before Australia and Fiji battle at Headingley at 19:00 as the tournament kicks off with a bang.
Speaking of England and Fiji, they got the weekend off to a start in terms of World Cup warm up games. England dominated in the rain scoring nine tries through nine different try scorers as winger Dom Young stole the show with a try and two assists.
The end of the first half was where England did most of the damage, most of which came through Young, as they scored three tries in quick succession for a 50-0 win.
Elsewhere on Friday night, Jamaica last to Cumbria 28-12 as reported St Helens target Tee Ritson shone with an acrobatic try as Kyle Amor and Brad Singleton led the way.
Saturday was where the bulk of the rugby took place. In Scotland, the Scottish were beaten by Paul Anderson’s England Knights 28-6 with Josh Thewlis scoring four of the Knights’ six tries. The others went to Jack Broadbent and Jez Litten. Kane Linnett got Scotland’s try.
As that was going on, in Halifax Tonga took on France and David Fifita, after a year of criticism at Gold Coast, stole the show with a hat-trick for Tonga. St Helens’ Konrad Hurrell also got a try in the nine-try 48-12 win.
For France, Leeds bound Justin Sangare stole the show with a brilliant try powering through some of Tonga’s best forwards making a statement ahead of his move to Headingley.
Speaking of Headingley, the Rhinos hosted New Zealand who were irrepressible and brilliant to watch from start to finish. They ran in 14 tries in a 74-0 win as debutant Sebastian Kris scored a first half hat-trick.
Leeds weren’t the only club side to host a World Cup team, Bradford Bulls did the same against Greece and a Kieran Gill hat-trick gave the Bulls a 22-0 lead inside 20 minutes. However, Greece made it 22-12 by the break.
Despite a try from ex-Warrington man Billy Magoulias, going into the last 13 minutes Greece looked out of it but battled back, helped along by a second from Magoulias, levelled matters before star NRL halfback Lachlan Ilias missed a penalty late on to win it. They drew 34-all.
Elsewhere, Wales were well beaten by Lebanon 38-22 in their preparation for the World Cup.