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Rugby League World Cup 2017
WEEK one of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup will come to a close today with three cracking matches to play out.
Ireland have thumped Italy 36-12 in a boilover in Cairns while Lebanon have notched its first win with a 29-18 win over France. Currently, Tonga is making life very difficult for Scotland.
It has been a cracking weekend of action with Australia downing England in the opening game on Friday night with New Zealand too strong for Samoa on Saturday. Papua New Guinea and Fiji have also notched victories.
Winger Liam Kay scored two of the Wolfhounds’ six tries and skipper Liam Finn kicked six goals from seven attempts in an impressive victory.
The win sets up the possibility of the Irish facing England in the last eight.
Ireland’s other opponents are co-hosts Papua New Guinea and Wales in a three-team Group C from which only the winners qualify for the quarter-finals.
Papua New Guinea are top of the standings having beaten Wales 50-6 on Saturday.
Ireland reached the quarters in 2000 and 2008 but did not win a match at the last tournament in 2013.
Former Wakefield player Kay, who scored 27 tries in 21 appearances for Toronto this year, opened Ireland’s account after just two minutes of Sunday’s game following a good pass from full-back Scott Grix.
Seven minutes later loose forward George King timed his run to perfection to touch down Michael McIlorum’s grubber kick and Finn kicked his second conversion before adding an 18th-minute penalty to open up a 14-0 lead.
Ireland went further ahead on 29 minutes when Kay grabbed his second try in identical fashion to his first and Finn maintained his accuracy to land his fourth goal.
The Wolfhounds coped admirably with the conditions, aided by drinks breaks after 20 and 60 minutes, but suffered a setback three minutes before half-time when Grix’s pass in a promising attacking position was intercepted by centre Justin Castellaro, who raced 70 metres for an opportunist try.
Former Hull KR winger Josh Mantellato added the conversion to make it 20-6 at half-time and it got even better for the Azzurri despite losing half-back Jack Johns, son of former Wigan player Matthew, with an arm injury.
The deficit was cut to just eight points six minutes into the second half when Mantellato outjumped Shannon McDonnell to bring down the ball and put his centre Nathan Milone over for Italy’s second try, which Mantellato again converted.