Rugby League World Cup: England suffer golden point heartbreak as Samoa book their place in the final
Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman was among the scorers for Shaun Wane’s side, while Mike Cooper also featured in the semi-final loss.
England fought until the very end, with a late try forcing the game into golden point, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Samoa went over for the opening points of the game after only five minutes, with Tim Lafai finding a gap on the left side to make it 4-0.
Shortly after, Wane’s side were handed a temporary man advantage, after Junior Paulo was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous challenge on Tom Burgess.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t make the most it.
Kallum Watkins came close but was denied by the video ref after losing control of the ball on the line, while a Sam Tomkins kick through was intercepted before it could reach Herbie Farnworth.
England didn’t have to wait too much longer for their first points of the afternoon, as they went ahead in the 25th minute.
George Williams made a made a fantastic break, before providing an assist for Elliott Whitehead.
The lead didn’t last for long, as they were once again caught out on their right side, with Ligi Sao powering his way over.
After missing the first conversion, Stephen Crichton made no mistake with the second to give Samoa a 10-6 half time lead.
England quickly responded after the break, with Bateman punishing Matt Parish’s side for a defensive error.
The Wigan man picked up a loose ball before grounding it from close range.
Once again, Wane’s side didn’t stay ahead for long, with Samoa claiming a stunning try.
Paulo produced an outrageous offload to Jarome Luai, who punched the ball in the direction of Crichton to finish.
Just before the hour mark Lafai extended the lead further, with space once again opening up on England’s right side.
Down the other end, Bateman thought he had scored his second of the game, but was denied due to the ball hitting touch in the build-up.
Moments later, Wane’s side did pull one back, as Herbie Farnworth powered his way over to make it 18-20.
Heading into the final 10 minutes, England levelled the scores through a successful Tommy Makinson penalty.
It didn’t remain that way for long as Samoa found themselves back in front, courtesy of an error from Victor Radley.
The loose forward saw his pass intercepted by Crichton, who sprinted away up the field to the try line, before adding the extras himself.
With three minutes remaining, there was yet another twist, as England pulled level once again.
Williams made another superb break, before assisting Farnworth for his second of the game.
With that, the game went to golden point.
Anthony Milford had the first attempt of the period, but had his effort blocked.
Samoa quickly won the ball back, and tried their luck again.
This time it was Crichton, who made no mistake, to make it a heartbreaking end to the tournament for England.
Meanwhile, Samoa will face Australia in the final at Old Trafford next week.