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Rugby League World Cup 2013: England V New Zealand in Semi-Final

Before the game, England’s coach Steve McNamara was confident that his team could overcome a formidable New Zealand side.

The Kiwi rugby league side might not create as many headlines as the all-conquering All Blacks do in New Zealand but, as with the Union side that were so dominant in recent weeks, this could well be the best rugby league side to come out of New Zealand. Before the match the man to watch on the tourist’s side was winger Sonny Bill Williams, who’s been impressive throughout the tournament. He’s been a star of Stephen Kearney’s 2013 side whose proved his power and pace throughout the tournament. Today, it took five of England’s best to stop him scoring a try with the scores level 8-8 and 2 minutes gone in the second half. Unfortunately for the home supporters, a minute later Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored.

“It was a great try. Well executed and England have been caught short. They need to get a few more numbers from the insides early on,” Jamie Jones-Buchanan of England and Leeds Rhinossaid commentating for the BBC during the match.

A Wembley semi-final in any sport is a great occasion but the atmosphere is so much better when there’s a World Cup on the line, so the sting of defeat must have been hard for the England players to accept. England were leading New Zealand 18-14 and looks like finalists when Shaun Johnson slipped through England’s defences to score a try in the 80th minute. That tied the game, but Johnson held his nerve to convert the try and take his country into next week’s Old Trafford final where they will face Australia or Fuji whose Wembley semi-final began at 3.30pm.

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