Rugby

Australia 30-10 Samoa: Kangaroos clinch third consecutive World Cup with hard-fought victory

Australia (14) 30
Attempts: Mitchell (2), Tedesco (2), Martin, Murray Goals: clear (3)
samoan(0)10
Attempts: Also, Crichton Goals: Crichton

Australia claimed a third consecutive World Cup with a hard-fought 30-10 win over Samoa at Old Trafford.

While the Pacific Islanders enjoyed the support of the 67,502 crowd, Mal Meninga’s relentless side more than lived up to their billing as heavy favourites.

An excellent defensive performance laid the foundation for the Kangaroos, who have now won the competition 12 times.

“We brought our best game tonight,” Meninga said.

“We’ve had a long year, but we’ve been rewarded for tonight’s effort. What a way to end our 2022 season.”

After fending off early pressure from Samoa, Australia took a healthy 14-0 lead at the interval with tries from Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco and Liam Martin.

And while they were temporarily reduced to 12 men when Angus Crichton was penalized for an offense against Chanel Harris-Tavita, they were still able to hold off several breaks from Samoa before pushing further forward when Cameron Murray went off around the left corner.

Brian To’o’s try briefly raised hopes of a comeback for Matt Parish’s side, but they were quickly snuffed out when Nathan Cleary and Cameron Munster combined deftly to send Tedesco running into the angle into the left corner.

Stephen Crichton, the hero of the golden point against England in the semi-final, secured a respectable score for Samoa in their first World Cup final with a fine interception attempt for the second week in a row.

But it wasn’t enough to stop Australia from maintaining their stranglehold on the tournament, as Mitchell went over in the final moments to finish off the scoring hours after the Jillaroos won the women’s tournament by an equalizing record third time.

Samoan head coach Parish said: “We’re disappointed with the result but I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and commitment to the cause. We played against a champion team and we just ran out of juice. We just couldn’t come close.” . enough to put pressure on, but I’m very proud of this group. They kept trying until the end.”

Australia’s men entered the tournament without having played an international match since 2019, largely due to Covid restrictions.

And Tedesco, man of the match, said: “It’s pretty incredible. This group of guys came here six or seven weeks ago and we have such a special bond. Covid has killed us for three years, not being able to play for our country, but we got here early and hit it off right away.

“We created that connection early on and we wanted to work hard for each other.”

Man of the match James Tedesco scored two tries for Australia

Australia’s series winners prove too strong

The only surprise in another Australian success was Josh Addo-Carr failing to score what would have been a tournament record 13th try in the main match.

He still played a key role for the greens and golds though, speeding past four Samoan defenders to find their captain Tedesco supporting him on the inside as Australia increased their lead after Mitchell curled up for the first try of the encounter.

And with a spring in their step and Samoa unable to make the most of some good early attacking positions, Australia set out clinically to put the final out of reach of their opponents.

Addo-Carr said: “The record was not on my mind. My goal was to win the World Cup. We did it for everyone in Australia, for all of our families. What a way to end.”

There was little slack in defense throughout and Meninga’s side will leave England having conceded just 38 points from their six games.

While much was made of the potential impact of Jarome Luai and the Samoan NRL contingent, they were largely overruled by Australia, who are simply serial winners when it comes to the World Cup.

And while 14 errors and a completion rate of just 68% suggest it was far from a flawless performance, they were ruthless and efficient when it counted.

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