Rugby League World Cup: Crushing New Zealand win leaves Ireland facing exit

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Ronaldo Mulitalo
Ronaldo Mulitalo’s flying dive into the corner was one of the tries of the night
New Zealand (24) 48
Tries: Hughes 2, Rapana 2, Hiku 2, Mulitalo, Fisher-Harris, K Bromwich, Manu Goals: Rapana 2, Brown 2
Ireland (6) 10
Tries: Senior 2 Penalties: Chamberlain

New Zealand cruised to a 48-10 victory to leave a forlorn Ireland facing a group-stage exit from the World Cup.

Ireland actually went ahead through Ed Chamberlain’s penalty, but are now relying on an unlikely favour from Jamaica against Lebanon on Sunday.

New Zealand scored a total of 10 tries, with Jahrome Hughes, Jordan Rapana and Peta Hiku all going over twice.

Louis Senior grabbed two opportunistic tries for Ireland, but they fell to defeat against a classy Kiwis side.

Ronaldo Mulitalo, James Fisher-Harris, Kenny Bromwich and Joseph Manu were also on the scoresheet for New Zealand, who missed six conversions.

Michael Maguire’s men finish top of Group C with a 100% winning record and have amassed 150 points from their three games.

They will face the runner-up of Group B – likely to be Fiji or Italy – in the quarter-finals, with that match taking place in Hull next Saturday (kick-off 19:30 GMT).

Group C
How Group C now looks…

Kiwis prove too good

Ireland’s campaign started brightly with an expected victory over tournament debutants Jamaica, but an error-ridden and ill-disciplined defeat against Lebanon looks to have proved extremely costly.

Ged Corcoran’s men now require the Reggae Warriors – bottom of the group with two losses and a -108 points difference – to claim what would be a huge surprise success over Lebanon.

In the first international meeting between the two sides, Ireland’s challenge at Headingley was to defeat a New Zealand outfit ranked number one in the world – and which had won their last five matches.

Chamberlain’s 40-metre penalty gave them a dream start, but hopes of a sensational shock quickly disappeared as the excellent Hughes jinked through a number of challenges to touch down.

Rapana then found acres of space down the right wing for an easy finish from Hughes’ kick, while Hiku went in twice in between Senior’s brilliant intercepted effort, running clear from 30-metres out to cross.

That Ireland try was greeted with a huge roar from supporters packed into the South Stand, but it was their loudest cheer on a disappointing night.

Cronulla winger Mulitalo’s flying dive into the corner was a stunning show of athleticism and gave the Kiwis a deserved 24-6 half-time advantage.

Rapana sneaked in at the start of the second half, while Fisher-Harris broke through from a short pass and Hughes got his second of the game courtesy of a sublime dummy.

There was more pain for Ireland when Kenny Bromwich reacted quickest to Chamberlain’s fumble and, though Senior got a second, Manu’s late bursting run allowed New Zealand to claim a record sixth straight international victory.

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