Rugby League World Cup: England crush Ireland 42-0 in Group A
Last Updated: November 2, 2013 5:05pm
A Ryan Hall hat-trick helped England get their Rugby League World Cup campaign up and running with a 42-0 hammering of Group A rivals Ireland in front of a sell-out 24,375 crowd at the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield.
Steve McNamara's men, who lost their opening fixture to highly-fancied Australia in Cardiff last weekend, put a halt to their two-game losing run thanks to a free-flowing display.
They were 30-0 up by the break thanks to a hat-trick from winger Ryan Hall who became England's all-time leading try-scorer.
Leeds player Hall touched down three times in 20 minutes to take his tally to 17 tries in as many matches and overtake Sam Tomkins at the top of the list.
Fellow winger Tom Briscoe, who was recalled in place of Josh Charnley, seized
his opportunity by scoring a brace while Brett Ferres added another before the break.
England went over the whitewash a further two times in a low-key second half as conditions became wet and windy.
Kallum Watkins and Rangi Chase made it a total of eight tries while Kevin Sinfield kicked four goals and Gareth Widdop also got in on the act with a conversion to help England coast to their first win of the tournament.
They will now need to beat Fiji in their last group game in Hull next Saturday to secure second place in the group, while Ireland must pull off an unlikely win over tournament favourites Australia in Limerick next Saturday to keep their dream alive.
England were particularly destructive down their left channel where the Huddersfield duo of Ferres and Leroy Cudjoe looked perfectly at home in familiar surroundings.
They combined effectively twice in the first 12 minutes to get Hall over for two of the easiest tries he will surely ever score for his country, as he first drew level with Tomkins and then overtook him as England's all-time leading scorer.
As if not to be outdone by his fellow winger, Briscoe struck twice in three minutes to enhance his claim for a regular place ahead of Charnley, who was left out to rest a minor shoulder problem.
He took advantage of an off-balance Pat Richards to touch down Chase's high kick and then gathered Tomkins' pass on halfway to sprint half the length of the pitch for his second.
England looked full of confidence after their lively start and they delighted the exuberant crowd with a free-flowing move that enabled Hall to complete his hat-trick.
Ireland simply could not get their hands on the ball and they were left clutching at thin air when Tomkins sliced through to get Ferres over for a deserved try which made it 30-0.
Playing into a stiff breeze and occasional driving rain, England had to take a more pragmatic approach in the second half.
McNamara changed his side around 10 minutes into the second half, switching Sinfield to hooker to give Gareth Widdop a run at stand-off and the Melbourne player quickly made his mark.
Widdop's kick to the corner was palmed back by Briscoe into the arms of the grateful Watkins for England's seventh try, and Sinfield kicked his fourth goal to extend his side's lead to 36-0 on the hour.
Tomkins was always a threat and he showed his class after 68 minutes when he spun out of tackles to open up the Ireland defence before producing a delicate kick for Chase to touch down for England's eighth try.
Widdop's conversion wrapped up the scoring, although winger Damien Blanch went close to opening Ireland's account late on as he fumbled Finn's kick to the corner.