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England demolish Samoa opening round of Rugby League World Cup

Hosts England stunned Samoa while tournament favourites Australia demolish Fiji in the opening two games of the 2022 Rugby League World Cup in the UK on Saturday.

England piled on an amazing 60 points to thrash the highly-rated Samoa who at times seemed overwhelmed by their opposition.

Sydney Roosters forward, Victor Radley, whose selection was criticised in some quarters, was a “surprised” man of the match ahead of a number of outstanding England performances.

“I’m not quite sure how I got man of the match, I’m a bit embarrassed,” said Radley who added he did not read any pre-game media about himself or England being underdogs.

“We certainly didn’t think were underdogs.”

England ran through Samoa’s defence like it was wet paper scoring 10 tries with a first-half double to young winger Domonic Young (24th and 29th minute) and a second-half brace by Canberra forward Elliott Whitehead (68th and 70th minutes).

When Tom Burgess bursts through three Samoan defenders close to the line in the 79th minute England’s score hit 60 points.

Samoa’s much vaunted Penrith’s back-line was never allowed to fire with England controlling possession and rolling through the middle and dominating on the edges.

Australia was equally impressive in their demolition of Fiji in the second game with hooker Harry Grant and winger Josh Addo-Carr starring along with Latrell Mitchell and fullback James Tedesco.

Addo-Carr finished with two tries, the first an 80-metre effort when he latched onto a bullet-like pass from Mitchell and outsped the cover who never got close.

Australian centre Valentine Holmes had the radar working with the boot landing 7-from-7.

Grant was brilliant out of dummy half with his clever grubber behind the defence setting up Addo-Carr’s second try.

Fiji started strongly and an opportunist try by Semi Velemei got the Bati off to a flying 4-0 start which they maintained until Jeremiah Nanai and Addo-Carr scored in the 15th and 23rd minutes.

The injection of Grant late in the second half added a new dimension to Australia’s attack and the Storm hooker celebrated his debut with a solo dummy-half try in the 53rd minute.

Australia and England now top their group pools.

Australia’s next game is again Scotland next weekend while England faces France at Bolton Stadium.

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