Five things we learned as England steamroll Greece to top Group A

The hosts scored 17 tries in 94-4 win at Bramall Lane

29 Oct 2022

Five things we learned as England steamroll Greece to top Group A

The hosts scored 17 tries in 94-4 win at Bramall Lane

By Josh Graham at Bramall Lane

England racked up their biggest-ever Rugby League World Cup score with a 94-4 win over Greece at Bramall Lane.

Shaun Wane’s side crossed the whitewash 17 times in total to surpass their 76-4 success against Russia in 2000. 

Dom Young scored four to delight the Bramall Lane crowd and make for a tough afternoon for the tournament debutants, who responded through Siteni Taukamo.

Here’s five things we learned from the hosts’ final group-stage hit-out in Sheffield with England likely to face Papua New Guinea in Wigan on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.

Young the star of the show

It is only a fluke of the pandemic that means Dom Young is running out for England rather than representing his Jamaican heritage alongside brother Alex.

But how thankful must England be to have the 21-year-old try-machine in their ranks after a break-out year at Newcastle Knights forced his way into Shaun Wane’s thinking.

He is now the tournament’s leading try-getter after doubling his tally to eight in Sheffield, putting him above the likes of Australia’s Josh Addo-Carr on six.

This competition needed an England superstar to capture the public’s imagination and entice those at home to switch on the TV and in Young they have a bona fide hero.

Where’s Welsby?

Some say versatility is a curse but Jack Welsby’s ability to fill several positions to a world-class standard is fast becoming one of Wane’s most potent weapons.

Having spent time at stand-off and full-back in this campaign, Welsby looks likely to play centre if Kallum Watkins is not fit enough to return after concussion for the first knockout game.

However, if the Salford man does reclaim his place then Wane will have a decision to make after Marc Sneyd and George Williams showed some lovely link-up play in the halves against the Titans.

One thing is for certain, Welsby will be in the 17 and wearing the No.6 shirt but exactly which position he plays is still be up in the air.

Perfect England performance not yet arrived

In each of England’s three group games, there have been little windows of no more than 10-20 minutes where they have gone off the boil.

Wane will know it, his desire to constantly improve and strive for perfection is common knowledge, but looking further ahead, if the hosts want to upset either the Kangaroos or the Kiwis come final time on November 19, they must iron out the inconsistent patches.

Before then, barring a big upset when they face Wales on Monday, England will take on a passionate Papua New Guinea and given several of the home side were involved in the Great Britain team that lost to the Kumuls in 2019, there is certainly no room for complacency.

Selection headaches remain for Wane

Ryan Hall’s double coupled with Young’s heroics and Tommy Makinson’s try hasn’t made things any clearer about who will occupy the wings for England in the last eight.

However, it is no bad thing to have an embarrassment of riches in the wide channels.

Shaun Wane must decide whether to include Ryan Hall (left) on the wing in the quarter-finals (Getty Images)

Sneyd’s 30-point haul and player of the match display has given serious credence to the argument that he should partner Williams in the halves going forward which will force some sort of re-jig with captain Sam Tomkins due to return.

And in the pack, competition for places is rife with the likes of John Bateman, Elliott Whitehead and Mike McMeeken not all able to start in the second row.

Wane said all he will do is pick the best 17 to beat PNG, but it may take some head scratching to get to that point.

Greece good for the tournament

While there is no getting away from the fact the scoreline does not make for pretty reading, Greece still came out with plenty of credit from their trip to Bramall Lane.

The Titans made a superb start to proceedings and were right in the contest for the first quarter – the score only 10-4 after 24 minutes - before fading sharply as fatigue and England’s quality took its toll.

The sport has an incredible back story in Greece after only being made legal in recent months, players forced to operate in the night and decoy social media posts used to fool police.

Footage of punters in an Athens pub celebrating Greece’s first try at this tournament did the rounds on social media and who knows where things can go after the exposure of their first World Cup campaign.

The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via

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