O’Loughlin: England will make the most of opportunity

Sean O'Loughlin: NRL Photos
Sean O'Loughlin: NRL Photos

Captain Sean O’Loughlin insists England are determined to make the most of their opportunity after reaching the World Cup semi-final with a 36-6 win over Papua New Guinea.

Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary touched down twice, taking his total to 11 tries in 10 international appearances, and put his centre Kallum Watkins over for two others as Wayne Bennett’s men moved into the last four.

England were not at their best but will be relieved to get through a bruising battle to set up a showdown with Tonga in Auckland next Saturday.

O’Loughlin told BBC Two: “We’re more than happy to get though this quarter-final and into the semi-final but we were a bit scratchy at times. There’s still a lot to work on. We’re really pleased to be progressing in the competition the way we have done.

“(The back three were) outstanding. First half we were a bit scratchy across the board and turned the ball over a lot. We did the second half a bit as well but the back three really got us out of a lot of tough situations and put us in some good field positions to play with the ball. They were outstanding as they have been all comp.

“The boys are looking forward to it (semi-final). To be in the semi-final of a World Cup is pretty special so we’ll make the most of it.”

Full-back Gareth Widdop agreed England have work to do before next week, adding: “We certainly need to fix up a lot of our areas and ball control and completing well and we’re not doing that good enough.”

But he is happy to play wherever Bennett decides, be that full-back or stand-off.

He said: “Wherever I get put I’m happy to go out there, try my best and do a job. We’ll wait and see what Wayne decides.”

Watkins paid tribute to Papua New Guinea, who let England know they were in a battle in a tough game.

He said: “We’re happy with the result, the performance was a bit scratchy at times. You have to give PNG full credit. They’re a really physical side and we had to match that. With the ball in the first half we were pretty poor but we were a lot better in the second and scored some nice tries.”