Makinson drives England into League semis, Kiwis beat Fiji

Tommy Makinson ran in a national record five tries as England advanced to the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup with a comprehensive 46-6 victory over Papua New Guinea on Saturday.

The tournament hosts will play the winners of the quarter-final between Tonga and Samoa, scheduled for Sunday, at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London on November 12.

Reigning champions Australia, who despatched Lebanon 42-4 in their quarter, will face New Zealand in the opening semi-final next Friday at Elland Road in Leeds after the Kiwis, the 2008 champs, beat three-time semi-finalists Fiji 24-18 in a thriller despite only leading for eight minutes of the match.

England enjoyed a dream start in Wigan, scoring seven tries in the opening 27 minutes, including three for Makinson as they shot into a lead they never looked like surrendering.

"I thought the first half was faultless, second half it was a bit scrappy but overall, to beat a team like Papua New Guinea. I'm really impressed," England coach Shaun Wane told BBC.

"Makinson has done it for years and years. He's worked hard and fair play to him. He's done it for St Helens and England and Great Britain. Outstanding."

Looking ahead to next weekend, Wane added: "Tonga and Samoa are great teams, we know it will be a massive challenge (in the semi-finals). We will give them respect that they deserve.

"We will keep improving every time we train. That's the way we do things and hopefully next week we will improve."

Tom Burgess was the first on the scoresheet, bulldozing his way over after six minutes. Makinson converted and then went over for England's second four-pointer just minutes later.

Star Newcastle Knights winger Dom Young continued his fine try-scoring run with his ninth of the competition before Makinson grabbed his double to make it 20 points in 20 minutes in a remarkable start by England.

Playmaker George Williams struck as a shell-shocked PNG struggled with England's direct midfield charges and astute kicking game.

Kallum Watkins grabbed a try of his own before Makinson sealed his hat-trick to leave PNG 38-0 down at half-time.

The Kumuls did not roll over, firming up their defence, albeit far too late to mae it a real contest.

After 30 minutes of resistance from PNG, Makinson finally broke the deadlock, sliding over for his fourth try on 58 minutes.

PNG eventually got on the scoreboard with 10 minutes to play, Jimmy Ngutlik sliding in to touch down a great Alex Johnston kick that caught Young napping in the corner. Rhyse Martin converted.

Fittingly, Makinson had the final word, crossing for his fifth try and a personal tally of 30 points.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't get on the scoresheet but I'm happy for my winger who got five," joked England centre Herbie Farnworth of Makinson.

"I think the opening 30 minutes for us sets the tone for how we want to play in this World Cup."

In Hull, veteran Kiwi winger Jordan Rapana hit a 70th minute penalty, controversially called for a ripped ball on outstanding full-back Joseph Manu, and then bundled over for a try at the whistle to seal a dramatic win for New Zealand over Fiji.

Fiji held a surprise 12-6 half-time lead thanks to tries from Maika Sivo and skipper Kevin Naiqama, while the Kiwis were on the scoresheet thanks to Ronaldo Mulitalo.

In a hard-hitting humdinger of a match, arguably the best of the World Cup after a series of one-sided results, Naiqama grabbed a second while the Kiwis hit back through Briton Nikora and Rapana's coup de grace to break Fijian hearts.

"We always knew they were going to be a tough side and it was really tough. They came out to play tonight and we sort of made things a bit hard on ourselves, but you've got to give Fiji credit. They were really up for it and it ended up being a good match," man-of-the-match Manu told BBC.

Looking ahead to his team's semi-final, Manu added: "Australia are a tough side, but if we pick up a few things we need to improve on then I think it's going to be a tight match. We'll be ready for that."

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