On this day in 2013: Shaun Johnson breaks England hearts at Wembley

Shaun Johnson

On this day in 2013, New Zealand favourite Shaun Johnson crushed England’s dreams of reaching a World Cup final on home soil.

Johnson scored dramatic converted try on the hooter to earn New Zealand a place in the World Cup final after a gripping game at Wembley in the semi-final.

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England had put themselves in a winning position with 13 minutes to play, and set about a stern defensive effort, only to see their resolve broken in the cruellest of fashions at the death.

After James Graham was pegged for a high tackle on Sonny Bill Williams, Shaun Johnson darted past Kevin Sinfield and raced over the line, and then dusted himself off to add the conversion that won the match.

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It was tough on England, who produced a performance far superior to the ones they had produced in their previous four World Cup matches.

Sam Burgess England
England’s Sam Burgess acknowledges the crowd

Jamie Peacock analysis

Speaking after the game, BBC Sport pundit and former England captain Jamie Peacock said: “Without doubt the best performance of the tournament from England. The intensity was there for the full 80 minutes.

“This hurt never goes away, losing a game at the death like that. They had so many chances to put the game to bed and if they took one of those, we would be here with England in the final.

“Sam Burgess’s performance was the greatest individual performance I have seen in an England shirt for the last 20 years.”

Australia crushed Fiji 64-0 in the other semi-final. The Kangaroos went on to win the World Cup, beating the Kiwis 34-2 in the final at Old Trafford.

England: S Tomkins; Charnley, Watkins, Cudjoe, Hall; Widdop, Sinfield; Graham, Roby, S Burgess, Ferres, Westwood, O’Loughlin. Subs: Burow, G Burgess, Hill, Ablett.

Tries: O’Loughlin, Watkins, S Burgess Goals: Sinfield 3/4

New Zealand: Locke; Tuivasa-Sheck, Goodwin, Nightingale; Foran, Johnson; Waerea-Hargreaves, Luke, J Bromwich, Mannering, Williams, Taylor. Subs: Nu’uausala, Kasiano, Matulino, Glenn.

Tries: Tuivasa-Sheck (2), Johnson Goals: Johnson 4/5

READ MORE: The greatest Grand Final performance of all time? Rob Burrow for Leeds in 2011

About Drew Darbyshire 8324 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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