|England (12) 28|
|Try: Halliwell 2, Brown 2, KingGoals: Hawkins, Collins 3|
|France (14) 24|
|Try: Abassi, Alazard, G ClausellsGoals: Alazard, N Clausells 4|
England captain Tom Halliwell scored a late try to lead his side to a famous Wheelchair Rugby World Cup final victory over France.
The 23-year-old Leeds Rhinos player of the game crashed out with less than three minutes remaining.
It was his second try of the game and sealed a famous victory in front of a crowd of 4,526, a world record for the sport.
Although Nathan Collins missed the conversion, it was enough to make up for the losses of the last two finals.
England head coach Tom Coyd told BBC Sport: “I was crying like a baby. I don’t know what to say. We knew we were going to win this game by two or four points. we said all the time.
“I’m so proud of the guys and this crowd, and everyone for supporting wheelchair rugby league and England rugby league. We just deserve it.”
Coyd’s side fell 14-6 in the first half to lead 22-14 after 55 minutes.
In a fiery game, the French arguably got the better of the referee’s calls in the second half and the kick from Nico Clausells, who broke England’s hearts five years ago with his late winning try game, helped them stay in the game.
But when Halliwell forced his way through the French defense it sparked wild celebrations and handed England their second World Cup title after success in the inaugural final in 2008.
Halliwell told BBC Sport: “We’ve all been working for this for five years. Everyone is trying to get better and better. Tonight’s performance shows us where we are. We’re the best in the world.
“It was written in the stars, a World Cup at home in front of these fans. At half-time, we said we would win this game by four points.
“That’s what it’s all about. Rugby league is a community sport and wheelchair rugby league is no exception. Anyone can play this game and that’s why I love it. love.
“I am forever grateful for this sport. Whatever I do in my life now, I will do for this sport. I am still in debt.”
France head coach Sylvain Crismanovich, however, was unhappy with the performance of the referees.
He said: “Do you want a sincere answer or a professional answer? They were an outstanding England team – congratulations England. But there was a lot of confusion around the refereeing.”
Crismanovich also repeated the concern he expressed during the build-up about the impact of able-bodied players on the game.
“There is an impact on the players’ bodies,” he said. “Unfortunately England today opted for show and spectacle rather than prioritizing disabled players.”
With the two teams so evenly matched, the final was never going to be a free-goal spectacle and there was more defensive strength shown by both teams.
France started well and an early penalty from Lionel Alazard put them ahead as they tested the England defense before Alazard went over for the first try of the match, converted by Nico Clausells.
England tried to get back into the game and they got their reward when Halliwell went past the 17th minute for a try converted by Rob Hawkins.
Jack Brown entered the game in the 26th minute with Coach Coyd hoping he could make an impact.
He immediately came close but it was France who extended their lead thanks to Mostefa Abassi’s 17th try of the tournament, converted by Clausells.
Brown had a controversial try for a double move, but just before the break he got his reward, smashing his way in with Collins adding the extras.
England started the second half better and first Lewis King, then Brown with his second, put them in control.
But the momentum started to shift in France’s direction and Gilles Clausells dodged a tackle to go over and two goals from Nico Clausells tied the game going into the final quarter.
Collins kept his cool with a 68th-minute penalty before Nico Clausells responded again to secure a stand finish.
And England made sure they had the last word to lift the trophy.
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