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World Cup overnight: Roos outclass gutsy Cedars; France flex muscle

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

Defending champions Australia are the first team into the World Cup semi-finals  after beating Lebanon 48-4 at Huddersfield.

The star for the Kangaroos was winger Josh Addo-Carr, who scored five tries to take his tournament tally to 11, three ahead of England's Dominic Young.

Kangaroos skipper James Tedesco took no part in the second half after suffering a cork to his quad in the opening term but coach Mal Meninga said it was purely precautionary and he had no concern about his star fullback moving forward.

Australia's semi-final opponent will be decided on Sunday morning (AEDT) when hot favourites New Zealand take on Fiji in Hull.

The Cedars achieved their goal of automatic qualification for the 2025 World Cup in France and walk away with their heads held high.

Meanwhile, defending Wheelchair World Cup champs France opened their campaign in style with a 154-6 win over Wales.

France scored 27 tries to make a clear statement that they are again the team to beat while the USA also came away with a first-up win, downing Scotland 62-41.

The main takeaways

  • The Kangaroos will need to eradicate the errors and come up with a better kicking game if they are make it into the World Cup final.
  • Josh Addo-Carr looks certain to go past team-mate Valentine Holmes' record for most tries at a World Cup for Australia. Holmes crossed for 12 tries in 2017.
  • Lebanon have plenty to build on ahead of France 2025 and should move heaven and earth to ensure Michael Cheika at the helm again in three years' time.
  • Cedars fullback Jacob Kiraz is a star in the making and the Bulldogs have a good one on their hands.

Addo-Carr bags a handful

Star performers

Josh Addo-Carr is loving life in Kangaroos camp and it shows on the field as he continues racking up the four-pointers. His five-try haul equalled Valentine Holmes' effort in the 2017 World Cup quarter-final against Samoa in Darwin but the Cowboys flyer still holds the record for most tries in a Test for Australia with six. Forwards Liam Martin, Harry Grant and Cameron Murray were also strong for the Kangaroos while Mitch Moses, Josh Mansour, Jalal Bazzaz and Charbel Tasipale never stopped trying for the Cedars. Moses' class came to the fore when he laid on Lebanon's only try for Mansour with a pinpoint grubber kick.

What the result means

The Kangaroos move to Leeds in seven days' time to face either New Zealand or Fiji in the semi-final. The defending champions will look to tidy up a few errors that crept into their game against Lebanon. The tournament is over for the Cedars but they won plenty of admirers and have qualified for the next World Cup in France in 2025.


Match Highlights: Australia v Lebanon



Defending champions France made a stunning statement with a 154-6 win over Wales in Sheffield.

Lionel Alazard scored six tries to become France's equal leading tryscorer in World Cup history while Jeremy Bourson and Mostefa Abassi both scored five tries. Alazard added 13 conversions for a personal haul of 50 points, a record for an individual in a World Cup game.

Alazard breaks the individual point scoring record

Wales' lone try was scored by Harry Jones in the opening half and despite trailing 96-6 at the break, Stuart Williams' men fought the match out bravely.

"I'm a bit low but I'm so proud," said Williams post-match. "The grit and determination and grind from us all, I couldn't ask much more. Everyone put a shift in."

France came up just short of breaking their own record for the biggest ever margin in a World Cup match, set in 2013 when they beat Scotland 154-2.

Try of the tournament so far

What the result means

France entered the tournament ranked No.1 in the world and this performance sent a warning to all their rivals that they plan to live up to that billing. 

The defending champions play Scotland in their next match early Tuesday morning (AEDT) before rounding out the pool games against USA.

Scotland will benefit from a pre-tournament match against the Wheelaroos, and they have the added bonus of having competed at the last two editions of the tournament, albeit finishing last on each of those occasions. 

Match Highlights: France v Wales



Four tries each to Mackenzie Johnson and Jeffery Townsend led the USA to a 62-41 win in their opening round clash at the Wheelchair World Cup.

In a see-sawing clash the Scots also had a four-try hero of their own with Callum Young a shining light.

Willans on the end of a brilliant Scotland team try

The USA led 38-24 at half-time and went on with the job to open their campaign in fine style. They now move on to a round two clash against Wales, who will be desperate to bounce back after a tough loss to France.

"It was fast-paced and it was intense, and we loved every minute of it," player of the match Johnson told BBC Sport post-match.

What the result means

The USA have put themselves in a great position to advance to the next stage of the tournament after their impressive victory. Scotland have just three days to regroup before they face the might of France in Sheffield.

Match Highlights: Scotland v USA


Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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