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RLWC semi-winning try 'a blur' for Johnson

Shaun Johnson says his match-winning try to put New Zealand into the Rugby League World Cup final is redemption for his worst performance of the tournament.
RLWC semi-winning try 'a blur' for Johnson
by AAP

By Ian Laybourn

LONDON, Nov 24 PA - Shaun Johnson says his match-winning try to put New Zealand into the Rugby League World Cup final is redemption for his worst performance of the tournament.

Johnson, whose tally of 12 points took him to within six of the World Cup record of 76 set by Australia's Mick Cronin in 1995, came to the Kiwis' rescue on Saturday at Wembley with a last-minute try that levelled the scores and he then kicked the conversion to seal a dramatic 20-18 victory.

"It was a bit of a blur, to be honest," the 23-year-old said. "The whole match, we'd been hitting the right edge and I looked up and saw a bit of space on the left and just went to that side.

"I got a pass, saw someone come at me, was able to beat him and just scored.

"It was probably handy I scored nearer to the posts. In the circumstances, it was a tough kick ..."

Johnson rated the moment "by far the biggest of my career" but was critical of his overall performance and blamed himself for the Sam Burgess try that put England in front 14 minutes from the end.

"I was real dirty on myself. I was just trying to solve things on my own at that point in time and he made he look like a fool.

"I was well off the mark tonight. That's why there's probably mixed emotions at the moment.

"Defensively, I wasn't there and that's what I've built my whole game on this tournament. I guess if it wasn't for that play at the end, it would have been pretty hard to live with myself if we had to go home."

Sydney Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored two tries to take his tournament tally to eight.

"At times, it felt like we were throwing the World Cup away but we stuck at it and never stopped believing," Johnson added.

"We knew if we could just get into the arm wrestle, we would be a chance."

Johnson admits his side will need to improve significantly against the Kangaroos at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Australia kept their tryline intact for the fourth consecutive match as they thrashed Fiji 64-0 in the second semi-final at Wembley.




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