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NZ thrash Scots to move into RLWC semis

Defending champions New Zealand cruised into the Rugby League Cup semi-finals but will be sweating on the health of superstar Sonny Bill Williams following a 40-4 thumping of Scotland on Friday.
NZ thrash Scots to move into RLWC semis
by AAP

By Michael Oliver

LEEDS, England, Nov 15 AFP - Defending champions New Zealand cruised into the Rugby League Cup semi-finals but will be sweating on the health of superstar Sonny Bill Williams following a 40-4 thumping of Scotland on Friday.

Williams went off with a neck injury in the 30th minute of the Headingley clash after initially going down inside the first minute after an Adam Walker tackle, his removal at the half hour reportedly a precautionary move.

The result was predictably one-sided with the Kiwis running in eight tries against a Scotland team contesting their first World Cup quarter-final, New Zealand to now face the winner of the England-France clash at Wembley next weekend.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Bryson Goodwin scored two tries each with Jesse Bromwich, Frank Pritchard, Shaun Johnson and Manu Vatuvei also crossing Scotland's line.

Scotland started brightly but it was New Zealand who almost scored the first try in the fourth minute.

Five-eighth Kieran Foran sent up a towering kick, which Scotland allowed to bounce, but the ball was knocked on before Isaac Luke dotted down.

Scotland had a glorious chance to open the scoring soon afterwards when Peter Wallace kicked across the field and Vatuvei initially slipped, only to recover in time to deny the hesitant Adam Scott.

And in the ninth minute it was Luke who was the provider for the game's first try.

A fine burst through down the middle from dummy-half saw the ball worked to the supporting Kevin Locke.

He in turn found Williams who bulldozed through one tackle before passing to Goodwin who dived over to complete a 65 metre move.

Johnson missed the conversion but New Zealand soon had their second try when burly prop Bromwich barrelled his way over in the 15th minute after Luke fell just short.

Five minutes later, Tuivasa-Sheck finished off the Kiwis' third try on the overlap for a 14-0 lead.

For the fourth try, Luke was the architect again and, after the ball was worked from right to left, then fed back inside from Goodwin and then to Foran, Pritchard was on hand to cruise over the line.

With Scotland tiring, Williams then turned on the afterburners and set up the champions' fifth try, this time Johnson finishing things off before adding the conversion for a 26-0 lead in the 30th minute.

With the game virtually in the bag, Williams was then taken off by coach Stephen Stephen Kearney as a precaution and Scotland managed to get to halftime without conceding any more points.

It took New Zealand 10 minutes of the second half to extend their lead, Tuivasa-Sheck streaking the length of the field down the right touch line for his second try of the game and sixth of the tournament.

Vatuvei ploughed his way over in the left corner for try number seven in the 57th minute

But, with 15 minutes remaining, Scotland scored their first points of the game, Alex Hurst finishing off a patient move in the corner after a fine pass from captain Danny Brough.

New Zealand hit back, however, when Goodwin scored his second try, plucking Foran's cross-field kicking out of the air and touching down to wrap up the scoring.

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