The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

New Zealand celebrate against Francehttp://c1.puntersparadise.net/news/photos/New Zealand celebrate against France-1383353134_n.jpg

NZ belt France, World Cup defence on track

New Zealand celebrate against France

A reshuffled New Zealand, led by Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson, outmuscled France 48-0 on Friday for their second Pool B victory to keep their Rugby League World Cup title defence firmly on track.
NZ belt France, World Cup defence on track
by AAP

By Luke Phillips

AVIGNON, France, Nov 1 AFP - A reshuffled New Zealand, led by Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson, outmuscled France 48-0 on Friday for their second Pool B victory to keep their Rugby League World Cup title defence firmly on track.

Johnson filled the union-bound Benji Marshall's boots with aplomb, notching up two tries in a personal tally of 24 points and also kicking to great effect after his tough-tackling pack handed him strong field position.

Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney made wholesale changes from the side that beat Samoa 42-24 in their opening game, including opting to rest Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams.

France pipped Papua New Guinea 9-8 in last weekend's opener, but looked badly short of attacking options.

The Kiwis, dominant throughout, scored within four minutes to and silence the raucous 17,000-capacity crowd, centre Krisnan Inu of Canterbury latching on to a flat cross-field kick by Manly's Kieran Foran to twist over the line.

Johnson hit the extras, his first of eight successful conversions.

Despite a disallowed Frank Pritchard try, and repeated charges from prop Ben Matulino and captain Simon Mannering, France held their own for a couple of Kiwi attacking sets.

When France's teenage Salford halfback Theo Fages darted through, there was a sniff of the line, but the black defensive curtain came down.

A second cross-kick to the left wing then caused havoc, Bryson Goodwin outleaping the French defenders to score, and Frank-Paul Nu'uausala crashed over for the Kiwis' third try from a short Johnson pass to make it 18-0 at halftime.

Johnson scored a converted brace early in the second period, both times the recipient of smart offloads from South Sydney hooker Isaac Luke.

Replacement prop Greg Eastwood did well to ground the ball for the Kiwis' sixth try, with four Frenchmen hanging off him.

Nu'uausala went over for his second with the French defence wilting despite the best efforts of props Olivier Elima and Sydney Roosters-bound Remi Casty.

Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Scheck crossed for the last try in the corner, Johnson fittingly having the final word with a tricky conversion.

The Kiwis wrap up their Pool B campaign against Papua New Guinea in Leeds on Friday, while the French host Samoa in Perpignan two days later with three of the four teams in the pool advancing to the quarter-finals.

Click Here for Match Stats






Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Popular News Stories