DOM YOUNG made the biggest noise as England got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start – with Jack Welsby a decent enough support act.

They did a better job of getting the atmosphere going than Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson in a calamitous opening ceremony.


A technical failure meant the PA system fell silent halfway through a tournament welcome that was building the atmosphere at St James’ Park.

Wilson, whose band had already performed one song, ended up starting a Mexican wave as mumbles and groans among the huge 43,119 crowd filled the air.

A tournament spokesman said: “RLWC2021 would like to sincerely apologise for the disrupted tournament welcome, which was severely affected by technical failure.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted but we would like to thank fans for their patience and for continuing to celebrate the teams and the tournament.”

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Thankfully, that was not an omen of what was to come as Young’s double, both set up by try scorer Welsby, put England on the way to a huge victory.

Boss Shaun Wane opted for Welsby and George Williams in the halves, even though Marc Sneyd impressed in the 50-0 warm-up win over Fiji.

And Samoa were serious, with the strongest side in history as they aim to follow the lead of Tonga.

Make no mistake, this was England’s biggest group test – bookies had the Pacific nation as favourites.


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Wane looked relaxed as St James’ Park filled up – given the way the game went, no wonder.

There was no need for speakers when after a surging set involving Tommy Makinson, Young and Kallum Watkins, Williams sent Welsby scurrying over.

And when the St Helens star’s wide pass sent Young over from halfway, rounding boy wonder Joseph Sua’ali’I, the roof was almost lifted off.

The pair linked up again minutes later, with the former Huddersfield man diving over. However, Welsby unwittingly set up Samoa’s reply as Izack Tago intercepted his pass and hared 70 metres.

Put simply, whoever scored first in the second half was in control. Thankfully it was England as Mike McMeeken sent Kallum Watkins over.

The danger had not passed as England had plenty of defending to do but Wane’s men had the cutting edge when they needed it.

Anthony Milford’s late hit on Sam Tomkins saw him go into the sin bin and Tommy Makinson added a penalty – against 12 or 13 men, though, Herbie Farnworth’s dummy on Stephen Crichton that saw him go over was class.

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Elliott Whitehead’s double – his second created by Makinson, who ended a try of his own and 10 goals, with Williams and Tom Burgess also going in – put an even heavier slant on the scoreboard.

Repeat this five more times and the ceremony silence will be a distant memory.

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