England (18) 30
Tries: Mall 2, Bass 2, Ruse Goals: Stead 5
Scotland (6) 20
Tries: J Plumridge, L Faughlin, Hogg Goals: Hogg 4
Report by RLWC2017.com. Photos courtesy of RLWC2017.
The early exchanges were brutally fought with both teams looking to dominate the opposition defensive line, but it was Scotland who got off to the perfect start with Jack Plumridge burrowing his way over from dummy-half for their maiden try of the afternoon.
Matt Hogg converted from right in front to make it 6-0 after 10 minutes. Despite a shaky start, England hit back with a try of their own after a quick raid down the left-hand touchline saw Elliot Mall cross in the left-hand corner, with Ben Stead nailing the sideline conversion to draw the game level at the quarter-hour mark.
“We came here expecting to get into the semi-final but looking at the group we though we would finish second but as now that performance has made us top of the group so we’re really happy.”
Hogg was involving himself nicely with some classy touches and a perfectly placed grubber forcing a line drop-out, but it was his brilliant 40/20 kick that gave his side a wave of momentum.
With Scotland threatening with an attacking raid, winger Damien Gennochio thought he gave his team the lead as he pounced on a cross-field kick – only for the referee to declare he knocked it on in the process.
Scotland seemed to have the upper hand as they dominated field position, but a classy backline movement off a scrum in the ensuing set saw England speedster Jason Bass burst throw a gaping hold to cross for their second try of the game.
Stead converted to take a 12-6 lead with just 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Back-to-back penalties to England saw an array of pressure mounting on Scotland with their gusty defence eventually breaking as Jason Bass crossed for his second try.
Bass’ vital try came at a handy time with England holding onto a 12 point advantage at the break. Hogg was proving to be the most influential figure in Scotland’s performance thus far, with the dynamic five-eighth darting through some charging defence before throwing a long-ball to his winger who was eventually brought down five metres out from the line.
Just moments later, England sent a lofty kick down-field into open space with a lucky bounce eventually finding Elliot Mall, with the winger crossing under the posts for his second try of the afternoon.
Brimming with confidence, Mall thought he had his third try just two minutes later only for the referee to rule the final past forward.
Although behind on the scoreboard with 20 minutes remaining in the contest, Scotland looked to spark a potential comeback with Liam Faughlin chasing down a crafty chip kick from Hogg to score their second try of the game.
With the game in the balance and holding just a lead of two converted tries, England were quick to reply with Druce barging his way over for the match-sealing try.
Stead continued his perfect kicking record with the scoring racing out to 30-12 with just 15 minutes left in the game.
Scotland were trying desperately to salvage some pride as they put together some threatening attacking raids, but opted to take the two points to reduce the lead to 16.
Faughlin showed some brilliant speed to dart through the England defence straight off the kick-off, and they took full advantage of the momentum swing with Hogg capping off a starring performance with a four-pointer just a few tackles later.
Both teams tried to their best to finish the game strongly, but their efforts were to no avail as England eventually ran away with a 30-20 victory.
Scotland head coach Nathan Graham spoke to RLWC2017.com evoking his satisfaction with the performance of his men throughout the game and the competition so far.
“We’ve over exceeded what we came here to do – we got to the semi-final and coming first is just a bonus on top.”
“We’ve come away with what we needed but we haven’t won so were not celebrating that much but still happy with the result,” he said.
England captain Jacob Morgan said while he he was happy with the win his side can only improve ahead of their finals appearance
“We were sloppy in areas – in the second half we weren’t completing our sets with some stupid errors.
“Fair play to Scotland though they gave us a really good dig and were aggressive down the middle but credit to our boys they really fired up and it was actually a good game of football so really pleased with our performance.”
Morgan also spoke of the honour to represent his country in a tough competition.
“Its massive – you represent a massive body of people and such a proud nation when it comes to rugby league.
“Especially when you playing over in Australia it’s something else and hopefully kick-on when we verse Australia and get some good results.
1 Jacob Morgan (c), 23 Dan Harrison, 16 Zack McComb, 21 Jason Bass, 5. Elliot Hall, 7. Ben Stead, 6. Kieran Smith, 10. Aaron Hall, 9. Jake Reed, 8. Josh Halstead, 22. Dom Bryan, 12. Marcus Stock, 24. Kieran Sherratt.
17. Harry Kidd, 20 Josh Hamilton, 14. Sam Druce, 15. James Mason
1 Liam faughlin, 5 Damien Genocchio, 24 Mike Dowding, 4 Scott Plumridge, 3 Finlay Hutchinson, 6 Matt Hogg, 20 Callum Smithson, 10 Gavin Reed, 18 J Plumridge, 21 Mark Cordeux, 12 Ethan Flowers, 11 Dan Turland, 9 Luke Walters.
19 George Geddes, 22 Jordan Duncan, 14 Jack Elliot, 17 Niall Hall