Rugby League World Cup hit by ugly scenes as fans fume over 'farce'

Australia and Tonga, pictured here racking up huge scores at the Rugby League World Cup.
Australia and Tonga both racked up huge scores at the Rugby League World Cup. Image: Getty

Rugby league fans are calling for changes to be made to the group stages of the World Cup after a number of farcical scores were racked up in the third round over the weekend.

England kicked off the carnage on Sunday when they thrashed Greece by a record score of 94-4.

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Newcastle winger Dominic Young enhanced his new cult-figure status, clocking up four more tries to spearhead England's most dominant of triumphs over Greece.

The Poms easily eclipsed their previous record World Cup victory, a 76-4 rout of Russia in 2000.

The brutal display kickstarted a weekend of record scores, with Australia thrashing Italy 66-6.

The Kangaroos produced a 12-try rout of the hapless Italian side, with wingers Campbell Graham and Murray Taulagi both grabbing try-scoring doubles.

Lebanon then put 74 points on Jamaica in a 74-12 thrashing, before Tonga also cracked the 90-point mark on Monday in a 92-10 humiliation of the Cook Islands.

Tonga's win was the third-highest winning score in the tournament's history, with four tries from Will Penisini, a hat-trick for winger Tesi Niu, and 14 successful conversions from halfback Isaiya Katoa, who also touched down to complete a personal haul of 32 points.

It was a dismal collapse from Tony Iro's Cook Islands team, who had acquitted themselves well in their opening two Group D fixtures against Wales and Papua New Guinea, but soon appeared to lose their appetites amid a distinctly un-South Seas climate at the Riverside Stadium.

Tesi Niu, pictured here diving over for a try in Tonga's thrashing of Cook Islands at the Rugby League World Cup.
Tesi Niu dives over for a try in Tonga's thrashing of Cook Islands at the Rugby League World Cup. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Samoa then completed the carnage by thrashing France 62-4, with winger Taylan May returning from injury to score four tries.

New Zealand's 48-10 win over Ireland and Fiji's 30-14 victory over Scotland means a staggering 626 points have been scored in just seven matches this weekend, with PNG and Wales still to play on Tuesday.

That's a whopping average of 89 points per game - and fans have seen enough.

Fans have flocked to social media to bemoan the farcical scenes, with many believing there must be changes made for the next World Cup.

Tonga and Samoa set for blockbuster clash

Samoa's win set up a mouth-watering quarter-final with Pacific rivals Tonga.

The Samoans looked a different side to the one which was trounced by England in the tournament opener as Anthony Milford, Brian To'o and Tim Lafai also grabbed try-scoring doubles.

But they have not beaten Tonga in a Test match since 2016 and were thumped in their last World Cup meeting in 2017.

Tyrone May, pictured here scoring for Samoa against France at the Rugby League World Cup.
Tyrone May scores for Samoa against France at the Rugby League World Cup. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC)

In front of 6756 fans at the Halliwell Jones Stadium - the site of next Sunday's (Monday AEDT) meeting with the Tongans - Samoa were impressive throughout to ensure they finished second behind England in group A.

Tonga crossed within 90 seconds of their start against the Cook Islands, but the underdogs at least hinted at a feisty challenge on 10 minutes when Steve Marsters burst half the length of the pitch only to see his try ruled out for a knock-on.

It proved their final flourish, as three minutes later captain Jason Taumalolo barged unchallenged through the Cook Islands' defence and set the tone for a remarkably one-sided first period which ended with the Tongans 52 points to the good.

with AAP

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