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FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT
- Me, Myself, and I
- The 2009 Rugby League Four Nations tournament (officially known as the Gillette Four Nations due to sponsorship) is scheduled to be played in England and France during October and November 2009.
The tournament will largely be based on the concept of the Rugby League Tri-Nations, and is scheduled to be held in England & France. France and England will be competing for the first time. Great Britain will not feature in the competition, as after the 2007 New Zealand All Golds Tour, they have broken up to be reformed only on special occasions. Their place will be taken by England.
The RLIF has stated that after 2010 the fourth team (after Australia, New Zealand and England) will have to qualify for the tournament by winning either the Rugby League European Cup or the Pacific Cup and then beating the opposing cup's winner.
The 2009 series is the first of three Four Nations series planned before the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, with the venues rotating between Europe and the South Pacific.
France 12 New Zealand 62
Toulouse: Sydney Roosters winger Sam Perrett bagged a hat-trick to help New Zealand thrash France 62-12 on Saturday to give the Kiwis their first Four Nations win.
New Zealand raced into a ten point lead through skipper Benji Marshall and Perrett before France hit back thanks to Sebastien Martins's maiden try.
World Cup hero Lance Hohaia and France's Australian-born James Wynne exchanged scores either side of the break as the hosts kept their hopes alive.
But Perrett, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Frank-Paul Nuuausala led a succession of second-half tries to eventually put the underdogs to the sword as the world champions, held 20-20 by Australia last week, proved too strong.
With talismanic duo Dimitri Pelo and Clint Greenshields amongst a host of French players sidelined through swine flu and injury the hosts were always expected to struggle.
Yet they started the brighter and when former Newcastle Knights man Wynne broke the tackle and fed the ball wide, Nicolas Piquemal came within inches of touching down.
But French hopes looked dashed in the first New Zealand attack when hooker Thomas Leuluai burst clear to lay-off for skipper Marshall to wander over and put the first points on the board.
Within three minutes of the re-start Marshall was probing again and after Frank Pritchard and Fuifui Moimoi were denied, Nathan Fien chipped the ball into the corner for Perrett to collect and score.
Bryson Goodwin dragged his first conversion attempt wide but managed to curl his second inside the posts to put the Kiwis 10-0 up.
Undeterred, Wynne, a former understudy to Australia half-back Andrew Johns, combined with New Zealand-born Kane Bentley to send Martins over for his first French try in the 23rd minute.
Thomas Bosc converted to reduce the score further and after Perrett knocked-on over the line the French could smell an upset.
The hosts produced three consecutive sets of six inside the New Zealand 22 but after Wynne was halted five-yards short of the line, Isaac Luke scampered clear and World Cup hero Hohaia grabbed his eighth Kiwi try.
Goodwin made no mistake with the conversion to send the world champions in 16-6 up at the break.
Yet any hopes they had of pulling away in the final 40 minutes appeared to be dashed when Bosc's kick was fumbled in defence and Wynne downed the ball.
Bosc slotted over the extras from in front of the posts to peg the Kiwis back at 12-16.
New Zealand eventually turned up the heat and after a sustained period of pressure Hohaia and Fien combined to send Perrett in at the corner in the 53rd minute.
Goodwin converted and after collecting the kick-off Perrett dug the ball out just short of the line to allow Waerea-Hargreaves to cross within two minutes.
With their hopes of a famous win snuffed out, France began to cave in and Nuuausala drove over before Hohaia sprinted the full length of the field to score on the hour.
Goodwin converted both tries before Perrett flicked the ball unselfishly out the back of his hand for Junior Sa'u to extend the lead.
Perrett did then grab his third try of the night before Goodwin and Waerea-Hargreaves rounded off the scoring.
NEW ZEALAND 62 (S Perrett 3 L Hohaia 2 J Waerea-Hargraves 2 B Goodwin B Marshall F Nuuausala J Sau tries B Goodwin 9 goals) bt FRANCE 12 (S Martins J Wynne tries T Bosc 2 goals) at Stade Ernest Wallon. Referee: Shayne Hayne. Crowd: 12,500.
0 Comments 185 weeks
England 16 Australia 26
Wigan: The saying goes that you're only as good as your last game but for the Australians there is a significant asterix. If they were only as good as their last half then they will be more disappointed than delighted with this morning's 26-16 win over England in Wigan.
The Kangaroos scored 26 points in the first 31 minutes, fuelling the prospect of a blackout against the white knights of England. But the home side's stirring second half fightback, in which much credit should go to them, saw the Kangaroos fail to score another point.
A strange occurrence given the ease in which Australia piled on the points in the first half.
The Kangaroos might have looked rusty against New Zealand a week earlier but they certainly blew the cobwebs out in the opening stages against England, in the process blowing away their opponents. Rustiness became ruthlessness as the Australian left-side attack did so much damage that English supporters booed their team when the halftime siren sounded.
The Australians did not make an error in the first 20 minutes, and by that stage led 16-0. England had made their intentions clear when Adrian Morley, strong in the opening, hit Ben Hannant, all red and puffed cheeks, hard, but a jammed English defence had no answer when Darren Lockyer sent a long ball Greg Inglis's way. The Melbourne centre returning the favour by sending his five-eighth over for the first try.
When you find a good thing, stick to it, and so the Kangaroos kept going left, where they were finding most of the space. Slater scored his first try after 15 minutes, with Thurston and Lockyer again prominent, and just three minutes later second-rower Anthony Watmough found himself crashing through, with the England defence nervous about his speed and size and the guile of Lockyer and Thurston inside him. Watmough found Inglis, who gave Slater his second try within 18 minutes.
Watmough came up with Australia's first error after 20 minutes, but unfortunately for England they failed to capitalise on their first real opportunity in Kangaroo territory. In fact, Danny McGuire's ball put South Sydney's new signing Sam Burgess under undue pressure, and the player's first real impact on the game was to watch helplessly as Thurston's quick ball sent Inglis on another merry run.
While the spine of the Australian team could not take charge against the Kiwis last week, they dominated England. Thurston particularly was exceptional in the first half, but in Lockyer, Slater and Cameron Smith, the latter's kicking game pinning England deep into their territory, he had more than able deputies.
0 Comments 185 weeks
Gareth Ellis insists the anniversary of England's record mauling by Australia will pass by unnoticed in Saturday's repeat clash in Wigan.
The former Leeds second rower says England will not be using that 52-4 World Cup humiliation by the Kangaroos as additional motivation to help them reach the final of the Gillette Four Nations series and feels there is a new mood of optimism in the camp 12 months on from that nine-try rout.
"It's a different team, a new team," he said. "All the lads that are involved now are really excited about it and for some players it will be the first time they have played against Australia."
He added: "It's going to be a massive game with a lot at stake. I think Australia will be better for their game against New Zealand but I also think we'll be better for our game against France."
St Helens hooker James Roby, one of just eight survivors from that match in Melbourne, prefers to look back on Great Britain's 23-12 win over Australia in Sydney in the last Tri-Nations match three years ago.
"No one has really spoken about last year," he said. "I was lucky enough to play in the game in 2006 when we beat Australia in Australia and that was a brilliant feeling and a brilliant day.
"It gives you so much confidence as a player that you've been over there and turned them over.
"Hopefully this Saturday we can do that again and it would be a massive personal achievement and a little birthday present for my son whose birthday is on Saturday."
0 Comments 186 weeks
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- YES - In the future that would be good for the game, shows team spirit & history.
- MAYBE - Australia used to do it before in the 60's so might be entertaining to add it again.
- NO - Leave it the way it is.