England set sights on new challenge

Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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England left Australia on Monday, hoping to quickly put the disappointment of their near-miss against the Kangaroos behind them as they set their sights on New Zealand.

Steve McNamara’s men flew into Dunedin still licking their wounds after Ryan Hall’s controversially-disallowed try in Melbourne condemned them to a 16-12 defeat and left them with work still to do if they are to reach the Four Nations Series final in Wellington.

Australia were within a fingertip of first back-to-back home defeats for 44 years but they survived and the tournament is now tantalisingly poised, with all four teams still in with a chance of making it to the Westpac Stadium on Saturday week.

Certainly the Kangaroos will not underestimate Samoa in the last round-robin game next Sunday after the Pacific Islanders pushed the Kiwis all the way in Whangarei on Saturday and by kick-off time in Wollongong they will know exactly what they need to do to reach the final.

England’s target is a 10-point win over New Zealand at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday to guarantee themselves a place in the final and, after their gutsy effort at AAMI Park, they will not lack confidence.

“There is no one in there that doesn’t believe we can’t do the job,” said centre Dan Sarginson, whose surprise call-up for Sunday’s round-two fixture breathed fresh air into the England team.

Sarginson’s sublime pass got Hall over for a try that added to Kallum Watkins’ earlier effort and enabled the tourists to open up an eight-point lead but Australia’s latest newcomer Ben Hunt also made an impressive mark on debut, touching down Cameron Smith’s grubber kick before becoming involved in the build-up for Greg Inglis’ ultimately-crucial score.

Inglis almost went from hero to villain when he failed to clear the danger caused by Liam Farrell’s grubber kick in the last minute of the match and allowed Hall to reach over him to get the faintest of touches to the ball before it went dead.

However, Australian video referee Bernard Sutton, called on by his brother Gerard to make the all-important call, ruled the Leeds winger had failed to exert downward pressure and disallowed the try.

Australia coach Tim Sheens and his captain Smith argued that the absence of any celebrations from Hall was enough to prove it was no try but that did not wash with the England man.

Hall said: “I knew I touched it but I didn’t want make a song and dance about it because I didn’t see myself touch it – I didn’t know if it was on the floor – but looking at the video, I’d say it was a try.

“In Super Lea gue, that’s a try but obviously it’s not to be.”

Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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