England's Rugby League World Cup campaign ended as it started with an inept defensive performance.
England crash out of World Cup
BRISBANE // England's Rugby League World Cup campaign ended as it started with an inept defensive performance. They never recovered from a disastrous start to the first semi-final at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium where they conceded three tries in the first 23 minutes and, in all, have conceded a staggering 142 points in their four matches. New Zealand pulled the English defence out of position with alarming ease to create tries for Lance Hohaia, Sam Perrett and Jerome Ropati and race into an early 16-0 lead. The Kiwis managed to recover a 16-point deficit to win 36-24 in their "dress rehearsal" a week earlier, but it was a task beyond Tony Smith's misfiring side. They briefly gave themselves hope by carving out tries for skipper Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire, with Rob Burrow adding a goal, to trail 16-10 at half-time. But an error-strewn performance continued after the break as England fumbled their way to another depressing defeat. Bronson Harrison, Ropati and Benji Marshall added further tries for New Zealand, rendering McGuire's second touchdown and Martin Gleeson's effort irrelevant. There were few redeeming features for England, although Peacock led from the front as ever and loose forward Rob Purdham was heroic in an otherwise woeful defensive effort. England will now pack their bags and prepare for an early return home while New Zealand await the winners of tomorrow's second semi between Australia and Fiji.