Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup - Semi Finals

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AJ Lucantonio reviews all the action from the Semi Finals of the Wheelchair tournament.


Semi Final 1 - France v Australia

France have advanced to the Wheelchair World Cup final, defeating Australia in a comprehensive performance by 84-40 in Sheffield. It was billed as a David v Goliath battle between the two nations, as France are the world powerhouse in the Wheelchair iteration of the game.

The game started in ruthless fashion with France scoring off just the third tackle of play as Florian Guttadoro crossed and caught the Wheelaroos at sixes and sevens. But after holding the French out, Australia was able to get a swift reply when a clever kick from Bayley McKenna sat up perfectly for captain Brad Grove.

France showed their class as they were able to cross when Jeremy BoursonĀ got to the line, although replays suggested the ball was grounded short of the line. There was no doubt about his second try when he won the race to a well timed kick and Australia were on the ropes early. But, they were able to hang with the French once more and we're rewarded when Zac Schumacher crossed to reduce the gap to 8.

However, the French team only need the slightest chance to be able to cross the line. Following a mistake, Bourson was able cross for his third try. Another clever kick over the top found that man Bourson and it was his fourth in the first half as the lead extended further. The class of the opposition showed as France crossed for their sixth and Bourson's fifth of the first half. Further tries to Nicolas Clausells, Mostefa AbassiĀ (he bagged a hattrick) to give France a 54-10 half-time lead.

Australia started the second half strongly when Diab Karim crossed to give Australia some hope. But that was discounted when Guttadoro and Abassi crossed to secure victory. Australia refused to give up when Schumacher added a second try. The same duo continued to give Australia problems when Guttadoro and Abassi added further tries. The Wheelaroos were spirited in defeat when Luff, Grove and Cannane crossed to give respectability to the scoreboard. But it was France's day securing a 44 point victory.


Semi Final 2 - England v Wales

It will be a re-match of the 2017 Wheelchair World Cup as England slaughtered Wales by 125-22 in the second semi-final in Sheffield.

England started strong with Sebastian Bechara crossing for a hattrick inside the first six minutes of play. This was followed by a hattrick by Joe Coyd and England was running riot. Wales were able to counter with a try of their own with Scott Trigg-Turner crossing the line.

Further tries to Robert Hawkins and Bechara sent Wales into panic. The match (if it wasn't already over) was sealed with a quick fire five try haul to Jack Brown and it was 70-6 at half-time with England in full control of the match.

The second half was much of the same as Coyd crossed for his fourth try and Lewis King added his name to the scorers list. Wales were able to cross for their second try and Gary Preece added some respectability to the score-board. Brown added his sixth try minutes later. Nathan Collins crossed in the fifty-third minute to continue the one way traffic.

Brown made it EIGHT tries in a short effective burst of attacking footy. Wales added two more tries through Stuart Williams and Alan Caron to bring an end to their scoring. But today was England's day as Declan Roberts, James Simpson and Hawkins crossing for further second half tries before Roberts added a field goal to put the icing on a well deserved victory.


France and England will face off in the final on Friday night UK time in Manchester.