England turn attention to Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup knockout stage

England head coach Tom Coyd backed his squad to quickly focus on their next task after they ended the group stage of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup with a 121-0 thrashing of Ireland at the Copper Box.

The host nation ran in 21 tries with Joe Coyd and James Simpson each going over four times as they ended Group A with three wins from three matches.

Victory over Spain last weekend had already booked England a spot in the semi-finals and they will discover their next opponent after Thursday’s Group B fixtures in Sheffield.

The English Institute of Sport will host England’s last four encounter on Sunday and following a demanding six-day period where the second-ranked side beat Australia, Spain and Ireland in front of record-breaking crowds in London, the players will get a short break before attention turns to winning a second World Cup.

England signed off from the Copper Box in style
England signed off from the Copper Box in style (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Holders France remain on course to reach the showpiece clash in Manchester on November 18 but England are not getting ahead of themselves.

“We’ve done really well to take each game as it comes so far and we won’t change our approach,” head coach Coyd said.

“The only messages we are sending are to ourselves, that we need to keep getting better, we need to keep sticking to the game plan but give ourselves a pat on the back when we do that.

“On the whole our reviews have been really positive because we keep building in the right direction. We get a couple of days off now and the guys can reflect on a good job but it has to be next job mentality.

“It has been relentless since the first group game and I think all the teams have been feeling the pinch the last couple of days.

Jack Brown scores a try for England
Jack Brown scores a try for England (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It was play, one day off, team run and then play again. They are not used to that. They normally play one game a week or one game every two weeks in the league so it has been a real test.”

Jack Brown and Nathan Collins scored hat-tricks against Ireland at Copper Box where a crowd of 3,847 was recorded for the Group A double-headers on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day Australia edged out Spain 52-32 in a thrilling encounter that saw the Wheelaroos clinch their place in the last four.

England captain Tom Halliwell was delighted the squad were able to put on a show in each of their clashes at the venue, 10 years on from the 2012 Olympic Games taking place there.

He said: “We’re just living the dream, playing at a World Cup on home soil with record-breaking crowds and you sometimes have to pinch yourself.

James Simpson scores a try for England
James Simpson scores a try for England (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“This has been a second home. Obviously with the legacy of 2012 and it being 10 years since, we wanted to recreate something similar.

“I feel like we’ve done that with record-breaking crowds but we have to move on. Sheffield is the next destination and we’ll go there, familiarise ourselves and hopefully get a win.”

While Ireland’s tournament concluded with a heavy defeat, they produced plenty of entertainment across their group games and pushed Spain close in a memorable opener last Thursday.

After only getting a late call-up to replace Norway, head coach Damian McCabe was proud of his team’s effort.

McCabe added: “They never for one second stop fighting until the last second in all of the games, so I am very proud. We didn’t achieve all our targets today because one was to score a try but we learned a lot.”