In a festive environment at Headingley, England defeated Brazil with a crushing 72-4 victory to kick off their Rugby League World Cup campaign.
With the World Cup debutants playing in only their third international game, Caitlin Beevers’ opening try set the tone for the hosts against them.
In front of a record crowd, Courtney Winfield-Hill and Amy Hardcastle, who holds the record for most tries scored, both crossed the line for hat-tricks of tries as England earned their second-largest international victory.
Girl of Steel Two of England’s 14 tries were scored by Tara-Jane Stanley, who unexpectedly did not begin the match in her preferred full-back position. Craig Richards’ team also had touchdowns from Grace Field, Francesca Goldthorp, Tara Jones, Leah Burke, and Olivia Wood.
An enormous cheer was saved for the Amazonas as they marked their World Cup debut with a deserving try from Natalia Momberg despite the clamor of a six-piece samba band in full force in the South Stand and a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd roaring England on at every opportunity.
The home team was in complete control throughout, and as they sped to a 34-0 halftime lead, it was clear that they had the physicality and ability to pierce Brazil’s defensive line.
With some unforced handling blunders brought on by the rainy weather, it wasn’t quite a faultless performance. But the electrifying mood never threatened to be dampened, with the pre-match fireworks serving as the ideal appetizer for what was to come.
The other teams in Pool A, Papua New Guinea and Canada, then faced off after the game.
Papua New Guinea triumphed 34–12 to finish behind England in the pool.
The Amazonas were a bit of an unknown commodity when they arrived in Leeds after Thursday’s close loss to France in their lone warm-up game. Prior to it, they defeated Argentina 48-0 in their previous international match.
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