Tookey takes charge

Australia 26 New Zealand 6
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Australia lived up to their reputation as the best student side in the world, although they had to work hard before subduing New Zealand in the second of last night's Students World Cup semi-finals at Wilderspool, writes Dave Hadfield.

Easy winners of all their group matches and firm favourites to retain their title, the Australians were rocked by a try from the Kiwi's lively half-back, Watson Pita, in the ninth minute.

Australia have a devastating strike weapon in their armoury, however, in the substantial shape of their prop, Mark Tookey. Already making a name for himself with the South Queensland Crushers, Tookey is a destructive running forward and it was his break that sent in Andrew Lee to settle his side's nerves.

The strength of their centre, Michael Brennan paid off with another try before half-time and when Tookey burst on to Lee's pass for Australia's third try early in the second half of a match played with all the intensity of a senior Test between the two countries was swinging their way.

That impression was confirmed when their hooker, Derek Brady, nipped over for a soft try from the play-the-ball.

Their stand-off Matt Evans, rubbed in Australia's superiority with a further touchdown; in truth, they will feel they could have won even more handsomely had they taken all their chances as they became increasingly dominant in the second half.

Their winger, Adrian Suey, contributed three goals to a tally that was convincing enough. Like any Australian side defending what is theirs they will be formidable opponents in the final at Salford on Saturday.

AUSTRALIA: Mills; Suey, Miller, Brennan, Wardle; Evans, Lee; Lockwood, Brady, Tookey, Phillips, Minz, Thurston. Substitutes used: Kaarsberg, Smith, Hardy, Jabboury.

NEW ZEALAND: Donne; Morrison, Millane, Allen, Fisher; Foster, Pita; York, Beirne, Smits, Halilile, Ross, Davis. Substitutes used: Te Hae, Cameron, Hopkins, Neal.

Referee: G Shaw (England).