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England opens World Cup with win

England opens World Cup with win

Leeds winger Lee Smith scored three tries in his test debut Saturday as England opened the Rugby League World Cup with a 33-22 win over Papua New Guinea.
England trailed 16-12 at halftime, but came back with a strong second half to beat the Pacific Island team in the first match of the monthlong, 10-team tournament.
France plays Scotland in Canberra and defending champion Australia takes on New Zealand in Sydney on Sunday.
Smith scored in the 29th and 51st minutes to help England draw level. He scored his third try in the 73rd.
Fellow winger Ade Gardner scored twice, while center Martin Gleeson was England's other tryscorer.
Papua New Guinea's Rod Griffin leveled the match at 6-6 in the 20th minute before late first-half tries to Jason Chan and George Keppa, in the final seconds of the half, gave the underdogs a surprising four-point lead at halftime.
Hooker Paul Aiton scored a consolation try for Papua New Guinea in the 75th minute.
Lee said England has room for improvement.
"It was personally satisfying but the team, we've got a bit to work on," Lee told Britain's Sky Sports. "They came out tough but in the last 20 minutes we did all right."
England coach Tony Smith said the close match will help his side.
"It will probably do us a world of good rather than a soft game, though we knew it wouldn't be a soft game," he said. "We put a bit of pressure on ourselves not having enough composure in the first half. There are some lessons learned."
Papua New Guinea coach Adrian Lam criticized several refereeing decisions, including a disallowed try for a forward pass while leading 16-12.
"That was devastating. It would have put us 10 points ahead if we had got the conversion as well," he said. "That was a real hurt but we hung in there. A couple more decisions going our way and it's game on."
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Scores:
England 32 (Lee Smith 3, Ade Gardner 2, Martin Gleeson tries; Kevin Sinfield 4 goals), Papua New Guinea 22 (Paul Aiton, Jason Chan, Rob Griffin, George Keppa tries; John Wilshere 3 goals). HT: 12-16.


Updated : 2021-08-02 06:43 GMT+08:00