Rugby League World Cup: Josh Addo-Carr stars as Australia reach semi-finals with resounding win over Lebanon


Josh Addo-Carr starred as Australia reached the semi-finals of the World Cup with a resounding 48-4 win over Lebanon in Huddersfield.

Addo-Carr’s hat-trick in the first 19 minutes set the Kangaroos on their way and he added two more after the break for the defending champions.

Josh Mansour went over in the corner for Lebanon’s only try.

Australia will play New Zealand or Fiji in the last four in Leeds on Friday, 11 November (19:45 GMT).

Cameron Murray crossed twice for the green and golds, with Liam Martin and Latrell Mitchell also scoring in a dominant performance from Mal Meninga’s side.

Meninga – who took off captain James Tedesco at half-time as a precaution – has admitted that he has faced a number of selection dilemmas in the search for his strongest line-up for the knockout stages of the competition.

But against Michael Cheika’s determined side, his players largely vindicated his decisions. Nathan Cleary, who got the nod at half-back ahead of Daly Cherry-Evans, was excellent with ball in hand, although his first-half kicking was unusually erratic.

But while there had been some debate – particularly in Australia – over the centre and hooker positions, occupied by Jack Wighton and Harry Grant, the return of the free-scoring Addo-Carr is less contentious.

The only slight surprise was that he did not equal or better Valentine Holmes or Ken Irvine’s record of six international tries in a single match for Australia, having taken his tally to five with more than 20 minutes remaining.

With 11 tries for Addo-Carr already in the tournament, Holmes’ record of 12 in a single World Cup tournament now looks increasingly within reach. Billy Slater’s all-time World Cup record of 16 tries, set between 2008-2017, is also on the horizon.

Australia’s power and ability at the ruck was evident throughout, but Meninga – a stickler for defence – will also be relatively pleased by the way his side kept Lebanon to a solitary try, scored by a player who was in his squad at the previous World Cup.

It means that the Australians have conceded just 18 points in the tournament and 38 in total across 15 World Cup matches stretching back three editions.

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Australia head coach Mal Meninga: “I’m really happy to get through the game. We’re fairly injury-free. It was a bit clunky with the ball, the ruck speed wasn’t really good, but I was happy with the effort.

“James Tedesco [coming off at half-time] was just precautionary really. He was going to go back on at half-time but we decided to not do that.

“The ruck was fairly slow; it was difficult to get any momentum. When we did, we played really good footy. Defensively, once again, we were solid.”

Lebanon head coach Michael Cheika: “Today we got blown away by higher quality at the ruck. They blew us apart at the ruck in the first half and after that they could do whatever they wanted.

“It was not the performance we wanted but at the same time we showed a lot of spirit and grit to stay in there and play a real physical contest right until the death.

“Obviously Australia have a high amount of quality so I don’t think anybody is surprised by the result.”

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