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2021 RLWC Semi-Final, Australia 16 New Zealand 14

Lachlan Jeffery reviews Australia’s defeat of New Zealand at Leeds

SCOREBOARD

Australia 16
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (15), Valentine Holmes (29), Cameron Murray (52)
Goals: Nathan Cleary 2 (17, 54)

New Zealand 14
Tries: Jahrome Hughes (10), Dylan Brown (36)
Goals: Jordan Rapana 3 (12, 25, 38)

MATCH REPORT

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Australia have qualified for their 13th straight Rugby League World Cup final after narrowly overcoming New Zealand 16-14 in an enthralling semi final at Elland Road.

New Zealand struck first, putting pressure on Ben Hunt to force a kick out on the full, before scoring a set later through Jahrome Hughes.

Australia hit back minutes later as Hunt weighted a kick perfectly for Josh Addo-Carr to race through and score his record-equalling 12th try of the tournament.

The Kiwis moved to an 8-6 lead midway through the first half after Jordan Rapana landed a penalty goal, only for Australia to take the lead shortly after through Valentine Holmes.

A break by Ronaldo Mulitalo saw him set up Dylan Brown on the inside to score three minutes before half-time and take a 14-10 lead to the sheds for the Kiwis.

New Zealand narrowly missed out on extending their late early in the second half when a Peta Hiku try was disallowed due to Rapana being offside.

A penalty to the Kangaroos in the 53rd minute saw Cameron Murray score a simple try under the posts, with Nathan Cleary converting to take back the lead.

New Zealand suffered a blow on the hour mark, losing Mulitalo with a knee injury, before Hiku again went close to scoring with seven minutes remaining.

The Kiwis launched one final desperate raid on the Kangaroos’ goal-line at the death, only for Latrell Mitchell to defuse the play and put the Kangaroos into next Sunday morning’s (AEDT) final at Old Trafford.

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