Rugby League World Cup: Ireland defeated by New Zealand at Headingley
New Zealand overcame Ireland with a 48-10 victory at Headingley in their final group game of the Rugby League World Cup.
Thomas Leuluai watched on as part of the Kiwis coaching team, while Wigan Warriors’ Toby King was in action for Ged Corcoran’s side.
The Wolfhounds now need Jamaica, who have been heavily defeated in both of their games so far, to produce a big win over Lebanon on Sunday to keep their World Cup campaign going, while New Zealand will be hoping for an improved performance in the quarter-finals.
Ireland made a spirited start to the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the 11th minute, with Ed Chamberlain successfully converting a penalty.
The lead didn’t last long, as shortly after Jehrome Hughes went over for the first try of the evening.
Jordan Rapana successfully added the extras, before crossing the line himself three minutes later to make it 10-2.
Louis Senior received the biggest cheers of the night as he went over for two tries, with the first coming on the half hour mark.
Either side of that, Peta Hiku crossed for a brace, to strengthen his side’s lead, while Ronaldo Mulitalo added his name to the scoresheet just before the break.
New Zealand also had their numbers temporarily reduced, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves sent to the sin bin for a challenge that could’ve easily been a red card.
In the second half, both Rapana and Hughes completed their braces, while James Fisher-Harris and Kenneath Bromwich crossed the line as well.
Another memorable moment came the way of Senior in the 67th minute, as he dispossessed Mulitalo to score his second of the night.
Like the first, it was accompanied by a loud cheer from the Ireland fans inside the ground.
Joseph Manu rounded off the evening for the Kiwis, as he went over with just over a minute left on the clock.
Despite the win, there is still work to do for Michael Maguire’s side, who will need to improve as they progress further into the tournament after looking rusty in periods throughout the game in Leeds.
They will discover their quarter-final opponents across the next few days.