Dragons RLWC Wrap: Week Three
Seven St George Illawarra Dragons stamped their authority on week three of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, including a Man of the Match effort from skipper Gareth Widdop.
Widdop – who donned the No. 1 jumper for England – scored his nation's first try and kicked four goals against France, which is sure to provide former Red V coach Wayne Bennett food for thought ahead of his side's quarters clash against Papua New Guinea.
2018 Dragon James Graham continued his impressive Cup by scoring a try in England's eventual 36-6 win over France in Perth.
Graham and Widdop will go head-to-head with club teammate and PNG representative Nene Macdonald next week – who scored a try in the Kumuls' 64-0 win over the United States of America.
It was unfortunate news for Dragons and Italian prop Paul Vaughan however as the Azzuri's campaign came to end in Canberra following a 38-10 defeat to Fiji.
Ben Hunt played his first Test for Australia since the 2014 Four Nations tournament in the Kangaroos' tough 34-0 win over Lebanon. Australia will now play Samoa next week in the quarter finals where Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell is expected to play.
Speaking of Samoa, they qualified for the Cup finals by the skin of their teeth following a 14-all draw with Scotland at Cairns's Barlow Park with help from Dragons duo Tim Lafai and Leeson Ah Mau.
In other week three results, former Dragon Russell Packer was on the receiving end of one of the biggest international upsets in history following Tonga's 28-22 win over New Zealand in Hamilton.
Tonga will now face Lebanon in the quarters while New Zealand will look to bounce back against Fiji.
2017 Rugby League World Cup week three results:
Fiji 38 (Suliasi Vunivalu 3, Kevin Naiqama, Henry Raiwalui, Brayden Wiliame, Marcelo Montoya tries; Api Koroisau 3, Taane Milne 2 goals) defeated Italy 10 (Josh Mantellato, Nathan Milone tries; Josh Mantellato goal) at Canberra Stadium. Half-time: Bati 12-4.
Tonga 28 (David Fusitu'a 3, Tuimoala Lolohea, Will Hopoate tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 3, Tuimoala Lolohea 1 goal(s)) defeated New Zealand 22 (Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Jordan Rapana tries; Shaun Johnson 3 goals) at Waikato Stadium. Half-time: Kiwis 16-2.
Samoa 14 (Junior Paulo, Matthew Wright, Young Tonumaipea tries; Matthew Wright 1 goals) drew with Scotland 14 (Lewis Tierney, Frankie Mariano tries; Danny Addy 3 goals) at Barlow Park, Cairns. Half-time: Scotland 14-6.
Australia 34 (Cameron Munster 2, James Maloney, Boyd Cordner, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic tries; James Maloney 4, Cameron Smith 1 goal(s)) defeated Lebanon 0 at Sydney Football Stadium. Half time: Australia 10-0.
Papua New Guinea 64 (Justin Olam 3, Lachlan Lam 2, James Segeyaro, Rod Griffin, Stargroth Amean, David Mead, Watson Boas, Nene Macdonald tries; Rhyse Martin 10 goals) defeated United States of America 0 at Oil Search National Football Stadium, Port Moresby. Half-time: PNG 34-0.
Ireland 34 (Oliver Roberts 2, Api Pewhairangi, Joe Philbin, Liam Finn, Liam Kay tries; Liam Finn 5 goals) defeated Wales 6 (Ben Morris try; Courtney Davies goal) at Perth Rectangular Stadium. Half-time: Ireland 22-0.
England 36 (Jermaine McGillvary 2, Gareth Widdop, Stefan Ratchford, James Graham, Mark Percival, John Bateman tries; Gareth Widdop 4 goals) defeated France 6 (Benjamin Garcia try; Lucas Albert goal) at Perth Rectangular Stadium. Half-time: England 26-6.