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World Cup overnight: Debutants dazzle as Roos run rampant

Here’s what you might have missed overnight at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.

Defending champions Australia racked up their biggest World Cup win since 2000 as they ran in 15 tries against a Scotland side that simply could not stem the green and gold tide.

Nathan Cleary took control of the game in his Test debut, coming up with two early try assists before bagging a four-pointer himself and banging over 12 conversions for a 28-point haul.

Cleary's Penrith team-mates Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin also shone while Campbell Graham marked his debut with a hat-trick. Matt Burton and Lindsay Collins also had some nice moments in their first Test match.

The Kangaroos round out their pool games with a clash against Italy in St Helens next Saturday while the Scots will look to bounce back against Fiji.

Cleary magnificent on debut

In other news, Lebanon playmaker Adam Doueihi will miss his side's must-win clash with Ireland after losing his appeal against a charge of abusing a match official.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will have Scott Sorensen and Seb Kris making their Test debuts in Sunday's game against Jamaica in Hull.

The main takeaways

  • Josh Addo-Carr loves playing for his country and his four-try haul took his tournament tally to six. The record for most tries in a World Cup is 12 by Val Holmes in 2017 and 'Foxx' has that mark in his sights.
  • Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga faces a number of selection headaches when they hit the quarter-final stage, but Nathan Cleary ensured he'll be the halfback with a brilliant display on debut.
  • The looming semi-final showdown between Australia and trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand at Elland Road in Leeds shapes as one of the biggest World Cup clashes for many years.

Star performers

Hard to go past four-try hero Josh Addo-Carr who spent the entire Test with a smile on his face as he ran rings around the Scottish defence. His final try was a ripper when he kicked ahead for himself and touched down just inside the dead ball line. Harry Grant was again superb at hooker and Liam Martin picked up where he left off for NRL premiers Penrith. Campbell Graham - who had been planning to play for Scotland before his Kangaroos call-up - was emotional following his Test debut, with the match played in his mother's home town against his father's home country. "Maybe in a few years I will be representing Scotland, but for now, I will hang onto this Kangaroos jerseys as long as I can," Graham said after the game. 

Campbell Graham grabs a hat-trick on debut

What the result means

With two big wins from two games, Australia will finish at the top of their pool and will wait to see if they meet Ireland or Lebanon in the quarter-finals. There is still one more round of pool games to go, with the Kangaroos to face Italy in Round 3, while Scotland will have a tough ask to regroup before they take on Fiji in their final pool game. 


Match Highlights: Australia v Scotland


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