Rugby League World Cup: England beat France in Wigan quarter-final
Last Updated: 17/11/13 9:15am
Ryan Hall: Races in to to score his second try for England
England are safely through to the World Cup semi-finals after a 34-6 victory over France in front of a crowd of more than 22,000 at Wigan's DW Stadium.
France never looked likely to cause an upset but they did give England a decent contest ahead of next weekend's far stiffer test against holders New Zealand at Wembley.
England's defence looked solid on the ground but defending the high kick out wide looked to be a problem and that will surely have been noted by the Kiwis.
That apart, England defended their line solidly from more French pressure than they may have expected, bar an incident after just four minutes when France took a surprise lead.
England had started tentatively - just as they had against Fiji a week ago - and France took advantage with Vincent Duport taking a neat offload from Sebastien Raguin and barging his way over the line from close range, with Tomas Bosc converting.
Inevitably England hit back swiftly and it was Sam Tomkins - playing his final game on his 'home' turf of Wigan - who was the catalyst.
England's talisman at full-back twice arrived in the attacking line and twice provided killer passes.
First his superb step and offload put his erstwhile Wigan colleague Josh Charnley in, with skipper Kevin Sinfield converting from the touchline to level the scores.
The hosts went ahead for the first time after 18 minutes. Rangi Chase made the initial break and earned a penalty for a high shot.
Then it was Tomkins' turn as he fired out a long pass to put Ryan Hall in at the corner, with Sinfield again converting from the other touchline.
England were finding plenty of success spreading the ball wide and Kallum Watkins quickly set up Charnley for the Wigan winger's second try.
Almost a carbon copy move gave Hall his second on 28 minutes with Leroy Cudjoe this time supplying the final pass.
England's defence were then subjected to a decent examination and they passed it with flying colours, surviving three successive sets in front of their posts.
The second half started with a flourish as Chase kicked to the corner, a leaping Hall tipped the ball back and Cudjoe put Sean O'Loughlin in to score, with Sinfield converting for 28-6.
At that stage France looked set for a drubbing but they managed to stem the tide and would have scored more points but for giving away some sloppy penalties.
But England were also misfiring and could not force another try, with Tomkins even suffering the indignity of a late sin-binning after he deliberately slowed Damien Cardace after a breakaway.
England did have the final say, however, as James Roby shrugged off four tacklers to set up the position for Chase to put Brett Ferres in for a simple score which Sinfield converted.
2013 Rugby League World Cup
This years' Rugby League World Cup has been hailed as the greatest of all time by the organisers. Australia claimed their 10th title by beating New Zealand in the final in front of a record attendance.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is confident the sport will capitalise on the success of hosting the World Cup.
We take a look back at the highs and occasional low from probably the best World Cup to date.
- Hetherington wants more cups
- Wallace commits to Scotland
- Widdop left gutted by defeat
- Tomkins devastated by defeat
- Burgess defends brother George
- Johnson expresses relief
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Sheens tribute to Civoniceva
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Burgess out to deny Williams
- Aussies wary of physical Fiji
- Foran highlights main threats
- Two video refs for World Cup
- Civoniceva gets Wembley buzz
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England disappoint McNamara
- Sheens retains Slater hope
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Samoa v Fiji: Teams
- Williams injury played down
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- Sheens: Slater has learned
- Brough set for toughest test
- Scots ready for biggest task
- Kiwis wary of Henderson
- Farah dropped for US clash