England 60-6 Samoa: Dream opener for hosts inside St James’ Park

Josh McAllister
England v Samoa RLWC2021

England opened the World Cup with a 60-6 victory over Samoa on home soil at Newcastle’s St James’ Park in front of a crowd of 43,119. 

It was a dream start to the tournament for Shaun Wane, scoring 10 tries against a star-studded Samoa outfit, who went into the game as favourites.

Jack Welsby scored the tournament’s opening try, before assisting the next two for Dom Young on his first England cap. The pair were joined by Kallum Watkins, Herbie Farnworth, Elliott Whitehead (2), Tommy Makinson, George Young and Tom Burgess on the scoresheet.

Victor Radley picked up the official man of the match award inside the ground.

Match report

Shaun Wane dropped Marc Sneyd from his 19-man squad, while Wigan youngster Kai Pearce-Paul was named as 18th man on the extended bench. Welsby partnered Williams in the halves. Burgess and Chris Hill were named as starting props.

Teenage sensation Joseph Sua’ali’i was named at full-back for Samoa by head coach Matt Parish. Chanel Harris-Tavita was named as 18th man, with Oregon Kaufusi dropped out of the squad. 

Farnworth came close to opening England’s World Cup account just four minutes in, only to lose the ball in an attempt to ground Williams’ grubber kick.

Instead, England were awarded a penalty as Whitehead was taken off the ball, allowing Makinson to open the scoring off the right boot. 

Braden Hamlin-Uele soon later left the field with a leg injury and did not return.

Burgess was the next England player to have a try disallowed, spilling possession over the try-line.

St Helens star man Welsby eventually scored the tournament’s first try 23 minutes into the clash. The 21-year-old supporting a break from Williams to race away and score under the posts.

Young, who was picked over Ryan Hall on the wing, proved why he was a starting choice for Wane, scoring on the repeat set. The Newcastle Knights star breaking from his own half to race around full-back Sua’ali’i and score. 

England made it back-to-back-to-back tries on the half hour mark, with Young scoring his second thanks to a superb pass from Welsby, who also assisted the winger’s first. 

Izack Tago scored Samoa’s first with just six minutes until the break. The centre intercepting a pass from Welsby. 

Jack Welsby England
Jack Welsby dives in to score the first try of the World Cup. Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images

HT: England 18-6 Samoa

Tyrone May was stretchered from the field with a nasty-looking leg injury early in the second half.

Watkins eased the nerves for the hosts on 49 minutes. The centre flying through a hole created by back-rower Mike McMeeken. 

Things got even worse for Samoa, who admitted they were under-prepared for the opening clash. Half-back Anthony Milford was sent to the sin-bin by referee Ashley Klein for a late shot on Sam Tomkins.

Burnley-born centre Farnworth made Samoa pay on Milford’s edge, scoring with 15 minutes left on the clock for a 32-6 scoreline, before the floodgates opened. 

Canberra Raiders skipper Whitehead crossed for quick-fire brace, before winger Makinson made it 50 points with a try in the corner.

On an opening day to remember for England fans, Williams and Burgess crossed for their own tries in the final stages of the fixture for a 60-6 victory.

FT: England 60-6 Samoa

England: Tomkins, Makinson, Watkins, Farnworth, Young, Welsby, Williams, Burgess, McIlorum, Hill, Whitehead, McMeeken, Radley. Bench: Cooper, Knowles, Lees, Thompson. 18th man: Pearce-Paul.

Tries: Welsby, Young (2), Watkins, Farnworth, Whitehead (2), Makinson, Williams, Burgess.

Goals: Makinson 9/11

Samoa: Sua’ali’i Tabuai-Fidow, Tago, Crichton, To’o, Luai, Milford, Papali’i, Aloiai, Su’a, Hamlin-Uele. Bench: May, Tuilagi, Leniu, Taupa’u. 18th man: Harris-Tavita. 

Tries: Tago

Goals: Crichton 1/1

Attendance: 43,119

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