Rugby League World Cup

NRL referee opens up on vile abuse after World Cup semi

Cecchin, who disallowed a try that would have given Tonga an upset win, has told The Sydney Morning Herald he was in an Auckland bar when police rang to tell him they had contacted him and several family members that had been targeted.

He was advised not the leave the hotel and told he would be picked up and taken to the airport.

On his return to Australia, he was picked up by the Australian Federal Police.

He also flicked through his phone to discover more than a thousand "vile" attacks, the likes of which he had never encountered across his entire career.

Fiji book RLWC finals with Italy thrashing

The two nations had never met before Friday and they made up for lost time, producing a match that had everything a rugby league fan could ask for. 

Kiwis captain headed for Taumalolo showdown

Except from one very important man.

Jason Taumalolo has dominated every aspect of this week's pre-Test build-up, having rocked the Kiwis with his last-minute Cup defection to Tonga.

The 24-year-old powerhouse has done all he can to avoid the public spotlight before the showdown in Hamilton, but he'll do plenty of talking on the field, Tongan coach Kristian Woolf says.

"Jason is Jason, always the same - out there having a laugh, having fun and, like everyone else, looking forward to the challenge," Woolf said.

Fiji book RLWC finals with Italy thrashing

The two nations had never met before Friday and they made up for lost time, producing a match that had everything a rugby league fan could ask for. 

Breathtaking tries, wonderful individual performances, huge hits and three controversial sin-bins were just some of the highlights of the fiery clash that for a long time was a lot closer than the scoreboard suggests. 

Needing to win by 46 to progress to the quarter-finals, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Italians and they did not help their cause in the early stages. 

Fiji Bati expecting toughest test yet from Azzurri

The Bati have chalked up big wins against the United States and Wales to sit comfortably atop Group D with one match to play.

The Italians were stunned by Ireland in their tournament opener before beating the USA to keep their faint hopes alive.

The Azzurri would need to replicate their 46-0 victory against the Hawks to overturn Fiji's sizable points difference of +112.

While that's unlikely, Bati coach Mick Potter is predicting a difficult match all the same.

Kidwell pleased with Kiwis win

Having drawn last year's Four Nations clash with the Bravehearts, David Kidwell's troops hit the ground running in Christchurch and were near-untouchable.

They ran in 14 tries to one, with Peta Hiku and Te Maire Martin scoring hat-tricks.

Tonga book maiden World Cup finals spot

A commanding performance from Tonga's star forward pack laid the platform, and off the back of it they starved Samoa of the ball and took full advantage of their opposition's sloppy errors to score five tries.

Taumalolo inspires trouncing

All the talk about the ex-New Zealand lock's controversial defection did not prove a distraction as Tonga cruised to a 50-4 win over Scotland in their Rugby League World Cup opener.

Taumalolo came up with the most runs (18) for his team, eating up 197 metres, making 19 tackles, and a line break in his 57 minutes on the field.

Tonga threatened to hammer the record books as much as the Bravehearts in their nine tries to one rout in front of 9216 fans.

Parramatta flyer Michael Jennings bagged a first half hat-trick, equalling the most in a Cup match by a Tongan.

Kiwis to play 'traditional' style: Johnson

Johnson endured a miserable back-end to the 2017 NRL season, injuring his knee and missing six games as his Warriors outfit missed the finals.

But with almost two months separating his last Warriors match and Saturday's clash with Toa Samoa, the star halfback said he felt like a new man.

A host of injuries and squad defections - most prominently Jason Taumalolo - had allowed coach David Kidwell to start afresh with combinations.

With Kieran Foran out injured, Johnson will likely start in the halves alongside in-form Cowboys young gun Te Maire Martin.

Narrow loss to Kangaroos will do: Bennett

Bennett has joined up with his players at their training camp in Perth, where they are preparing for their first group game against the defending champions in Melbourne on Friday, October 27.

England also play Lebanon and France, with three teams going through to the quarter-finals.