9 Nov 2022
England 121-0 Ireland: Father beats son but game still wins
Hosts ran riot in London with Declan Roberts getting one over dad and Ireland's Phil
By Milly McEvoy at the Copper Box Arena
Son may have beaten father as England triumphed 121-0 over Ireland but Declan Roberts insists the result is about far more than him and his dad Phil.
The younger Roberts came on for England in the second half as they put the Wolfhounds to the sword in a clinical performance but came up against Irish resistance for the full 80 minutes.
Declan and Phil battled it out for the ball in the build-up to Lewis King’s try, one of 21 scored by England in front of another world record crowd of 3,847 at the Copper Box Arena.
“It’s starting to sink in how much this means,” Declan said. “It is not about me and him, it is not about our family.
“It is just about the fact that someone can start playing wheelchair rugby league because it is a way to play rugby league with their disabled father.
“And the two of them cannot just play together but they can get to this level and play in a World Cup it is unbelievable.”
England had a lightning-fast start, scoring five times in 14 minutes, with Joe Coyd becoming the first of four England players to score a hat-trick.
The hosts enjoyed 89 percent possession in the first half, as Ireland struggled to complete their sets.
Jack Brown, Nathan Collins and James Simpson all completed their hat-tricks in the second half to make sure of England’s place as the top qualifier from Group A, with a semi against USA, Wales or Scotland ahead.
And while the Roberts' were on opposing sides, Coyd is coached by his older brother Tom, who admitted his brother was a worthy winner of the Player of the Match award.
Tom Coyd said: “I thought he deserved it. Joe's played well in all three games so far and it was great to see him get the recognition.
“He's probably been our best in terms of sticking to the game plan, I thought they were all good at it today.
“But the first two games there were a few of us who strayed away from it but Joe's been right on task the whole time, so he deserved it today.”
With Ireland already out of the competition, Phil Roberts – who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents – will now join the rest of the family in cheering on England, who he believes can win the World Cup.
England must await the result of the final Group B games tomorrow to learn who they will be facing at the EIS on Sunday.
He said: “I think they have got to be the favourites. in terms of the resources, they have had the preparation. “They have spent so much time together, they are quite a young team too. I think they can go all the way.”
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 rlwc2021.com/tickets