League: Kiwis to meet England in semifinal

The Kiwis' World Cup campaign will go on the line next weekend when they tackle England at Wembley. Photo / Getty Images.
The Kiwis' World Cup campaign will go on the line next weekend when they tackle England at Wembley. Photo / Getty Images.

The Kiwis' World Cup campaign will go on the line next weekend when they tackle England at Wembley.

It's a matchup everyone expected once Australia beat England in the opening game of the tournament and will see the first of the Big Three knocked out.

England progressed to the final four courtesy of a comfortable 34-6 win over France in Wigan this morning (NZT). They weren't overly convincing but they were never in danger against a French side lucky to be in the quarter-finals - they won only one game and scored 15 points in three games.

Australia waltzed into the semifinals with a 62-0 demolition of the US earlier this morning (NZT) and will play the winner of tomorrow morning's quarter-final between Fiji and Samoa.

The English made a scratchy start against France and found themselves trailing 6-0 inside five minutes when Vincent Duport crossed. It was only the third try France had scored all tournament but England recovered and wingers Josh Chamley and Ryan Halll both scored doubles to give their side a 22-6 halftime lead.

They struggled to assert their authority in the second spell as errors crept into their game - 20 in total - but they defended well as the French produced their best performance of the tournament.

Fullback Sam Tomkins finished the game, his final one in Wigan for some time before joining the Warriors, in the sin bin and might have been a sentimental choice as man of the match ahead of prop James Graham.

England have a big forward pack capable of matching New Zealand's power game, one of the best fullbacks in the world in Tomkins, unpredictability in five-eighth Rangi Chase and good finishers in Chamley and Hall. New Zealand, though, possess natural ball players across the park who will trouble England.

Neither side have come under much pressure in this tournament - for England, certainly not since their defeat to Australia - and the stakes are about to go up several notches.

- APNZ

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