Universities World Cup Finals Summary
After two weeks of wild weather, soggy grounds and lopsided score lines, the 2008 Universities Rugby League World Cup culminated in a blaze of entertainment at Langlands Park, Stones Corner on Saturday.
Sunshine bathed Langlands Park for the final day’s festivities, with a large crowd of 1200 on hand to cheer on the eight participating nations. Host nations Australia were crowned 2008 World champions thanks to their nail-biting 26-18 victory over England.
Australian coach and former NSW and Australian test representative Brett Kenny said his side showed great courage to outscore their opponents 26-6 in the second half.
“It was the first time in this tournament we’ve been behind at halftime so it was all new to the players,” he said.
“We (coaching staff) had the belief they were good enough to come back, it was just a matter of whether the players had the belief in themselves.”
“They came out and did the simple things right, came up with a try in the second half and that’s what helped us get on our way.”
It was all one way traffic in the first half with England captain Mark McKinley slotting an early penalty goal to register the first points of the final.
McKinley then added the extras after Tom Lever scored in the 22nd minute, handing England a healthy start to the match.
The home side fought back from a halftime deficit of 10-0 thanks to some inspirational play from halfback and man of the match Drew Dalton.
Dalton kick-started Australia’s second half when he broke the line in the 45th minute, allowing centre Brad Horder to cross for Australia’s first points.
Co-captain Dalton then had a hand in the next try when a short ball of his managed to put wide running forward Sam Conlon over the line, levelling the scores at 10-all.
Australia then hit the lead for the first time in the 60th minute when utility forward Gavin Duncan danced his way through some poor English defence.
Lock Nuku Hifo then registered one of his one when he crossed just three minutes later, and it was all but over when Nathan Mossman handed Australia a 26-10 lead in the 73rd minute.
England managed to get one back in the 78th minute when Kristian Hodson ran the length of the field, but it was too little too late, allowing Australia to run out victors 26-16.
A massive comeback from New Zealand saw them claim the third place play-off match against Wales, with the Kiwis fighting back from a 16-0 deficit midway through the second half to storm home with a 24-18 victory.
The Welsh were unstoppable in the first half, fullback Gareth David and centre Jason Mossop punching holes constantly in the Kiwi defence, before an inspired second half from the 2005 defending champions saw them post four quickfire tries to stun a tiring Welsh outfit.
Ireland and Scotland kicked off the festivities with a last minute heartstopper, the two Great Britain nations deadlocked at 18-all inside the final three minutes before Irish skipper Tyrone McCarthy barged over to seal a 22-18 victory.
A hat-trick of tries to electric Irish winger Tom Gaffney proved the difference between the two sides, with the Scots drawing level twice in the second half only to have their spirit broken by McCarthy’s late four-pointer.
Greece continued their sublime form throughout their inaugural World Cup appearance, claiming the Plate Final courtesy of a narrow 14-12 victory over France in the second match of the day.
The Greeks shot out to a 14-4 lead midway through the second half, before French winger Regis Chave gave the World Cup debutants a massive scare by crossing for two tries late in the piece to keep them in the contest.
World Cup Final
Australia 26 (Brad Horder, Sam Conlon, Gavin Duncan, Nuko Hifo, Nathan Mossman tries; Drew Dalton 3 goals)Defeated
England 16 (Tom Lever, Kristian Hodson tries; Mark McKinley 4 goals)
3v 4 Playoff – New Zealand v Wales
New Zealand 24 (Royaldo Leoni 2, Laupepa Pasene, Danny Meara, Mahana Toka tries; Scott Hurrell 2 goals)Defeated
Wales 18 (Jason Mossop 2, Gareth David tries; Gareth David 3 goal)
Plate Final – France v Greece
Greece 14 (Craig Moustakas, Marcus Brandon, Jessy Argeros tries; York Antoniou goal)
France 12 (Regis Chave 2, Mohamed Chaabi tries)
7 v 8 Playoff Ireland v Scotland
Ireland 22 (Tom Gaffney 3, Liam Duffy, Tyrone McCarthy tries; Danny Pike goal)
Scotland 18 (Richard Knight, Stuart Dunbar, Martin Edwards tries; Sebastian Trotter 3 goals)
All Matches played at Langlands Park, Brisbane
- Increase Text Size
- Decrease Text Size
- Email Article