Rugby league-McGillvary magic helps England into World Cup semis

Rugby league-McGillvary magic helps England into World Cup semis
By Reuters

19/11/2017 at 18:15Updated 19/11/2017 at 18:16

MELBOURNE, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Winger Jermaine McGillvary scored two tries and set up two more to help England into the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals with a convincing 36-6 victory over Papua New Guinea at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Sunday.

The 29-year-old scored his fifth and sixth tries of the tournament inside the first 20 minutes and helped fellow winger Kallum Watkins to a second-half brace as England set up a meeting with Tonga next Saturday.

Alex Walmsley, Ben Currie and Ryan Hall also crossed for England but their error rate with ball in hand contributed to a poor set completion rate that will give the Tongans plenty of hope of a victory in Auckland.

Papua New Guinea, the only country in the world where rugby league is the national sport, had won all of their group matches in front of sell-out crowds on home soil in Port Moresby.

They lost skipper David Mead to concussion early on, however, and missed too many tackles to be able to turn their enthusiasm into any meaningful hope of reaching the last four for the first time.

Papua New Guinea had two tries scratched off for foul play and it was not until the hour mark that Garry Lo went over in the left corner for a converted score that reduced the deficit to 20-6.

England have now reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for all five tournaments under the group-stage format but last won the title as Great Britain in 1972.

Next weekend's other semi-final in Brisbane will feature champions Australia and Fiji. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by John O'Brien)