Rugby League: English clubs taking a battering

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The Independent Online
The credibility of the World Club Championship came under fire yesterday as English clubs were again outclassed. Scores of 50-plus are not remarkable, they have become expected as the Australian and New Zealand sides demonstrate their superiority.

London Broncos, mauled 66-20 by Canberra Raiders, and Halifax Blue Sox, who tumbled to a 58-6 defeat by Canterbury Bulldogs, became the latest sides to succumb to Australasian power Down Under.

The Broncos coach, Tony Currie, called for the championship to be restricted to the top sides from each hemisphere. "The idea is good," he said. "Australian clubs should be playing against their British counterparts, but the way it's being held this year is a nightmare."

Canberra scored 11 tries, Laurie Daly grabbing a hat-trick, while Broncos replied through Martin Offiah, Terry Matterson, Scott Roskell and Josh White. Canterbury could not match their Australian rivals, scoring one try less in their victory.

The lone Blue Sox try, which went to hard-working Michael Jackson, came only a few minutes from the final whistle. But despite the one-sided scoreline, it was a much more determined Halifax performance than the previous weekend, when they were thrashed 70-6 by Canberra.

Halifax's coach John Pendlebury backed Currie's comments: "The scores we have been beaten by over the last week have been a severe embarrassment."

Domestically, stand-off Steve Booth scored a tremendous double as Huddersfield Giants held off Wakefield to keep the squeeze on First Division leaders Hull. Wakefield hit back in the second half with two tries from Jim McLaren and another from Stewart Godfrey, but Huddersfield kept ahead with Basil Richards, Paul Cook and Craig Weston all going over. The 30-16 win puts the Giants five points behind Hull.

At the other end of the table, a try just 10 seconds from time by the Hull KR wing Jon Adams gave the Robins a vital win at Workington to move them away from the relegation zone. Bob Everitt converted to give Rovers a dramatic 34-32 victory, after they had been 10 points behind. David Baildon ran in two tries for Workington, and Paul Fletcher also scored twice for Rovers.