Australia have reached their 12th World Cup final in a row after edging past New Zealand 16-14 in a thrilling semi-final at Elland Road.
The Kangaroos will face the winner of England and Samoa, who play in the second semi-final at the Emirates on Saturday.
The only World Cup final Australia didn’t make was the very first one in 1954. Great Britain beat France in Paris.
The Kiwis opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes as Joey Manu superbly collected a chip from Dylan Brown to somehow get the ball away inside to Jahrome Hughes who touched down.
Australia soon levelled the score though as Jordan Rapana failed to deal with a high bomb from Nathan Cleary, and the tournament’s top try-scorer Josh Addo-Carr scored.
Michael Maguire’s Kiwis edged back in front thanks to a penalty goal from Rapana in the 25th minute.
The Kangaroos took the lead for the first time in the game on the half hour mark. Jack Wighton got a fine offload away to Valentine Holmes who finished in the corner. Cleary couldn’t convert but Australia were 10-8 ahead.
New Zealand took a 14-10 lead into the sheds at half-time though. A blistering burst of pace down the left wing saw him assist the supporting Brown who scored, with Rapana converting.
HT: Australia 10-14 New Zealand
The Kangaroos regained their lead in the 53rd minute when some sloppy defending from the Kiwis allowed Cameron Murray to score from bang in front of the sticks. Cleary’s conversion edged the score to 16-14 with just less than half an hour remaining.
Australia were in control of field position in the second half but the Kiwis clawed back into it late in the second 40. They had a great chance to score in the 72nd minute when Jahrome Hughes kicked through for Peta Hiku, but it was ruled out by the video referee for being in touch.
The Kangaroos held on to seal a 16-14 win in a thrilling match at Elland Road, booking their place in the World Cup final.
Australia: Tedesco, Holmes, Wighton, Mitchell, Addo-Carr, Munster, Cleary, Trbojevic, Hunt, Campbell-Gillard, Crichton, Martin, Yeo. Bench: Grant, Carrigan, Murray, Fa’asuamaleaui.
Tries: Addo-Carr, Holmes, Murray Goals: Cleary 2
New Zealand: Manu, Rapana, Hiku, Nicoll-Klokstad, Mulitalo, Brown, Hughes, Bromwich, Smith, Fisher-Harris, Papali’i, Nikora, Tapine. Bench: Foran, Leota, Asofa-Solomona, Liu.
Tries: Hughes, Brown Goals: Rapana 3
More World Cup content
FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app and podcast
The article Australia 16-14 New Zealand: Kangaroos book their place in World Cup final appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.