Josh Addo-Carr, an Australian winger, scored five tries as his team easily defeated Lebanon 48-4 in the first quarterfinal at Huddersfield to advance to the World Cup’s final four.
The world’s fastest rugby league player, Addo-Carr, surpassed England’s Dom Young to become the competition’s leading tryscorer after scoring a hat-trick in the first quarter and two more tries in the second half to bring his total to 11 in only three games.
When England plays Papua New Guinea on Saturday afternoon, Young may close the gap, but Addo-Carr has his eyes set on the 2017 tournament record of 12 tries established by his teammate Valentine Holmes.
The prize for the current champions and heavy favourites is a spot in the opening semifinal at Elland Road on Friday against either New Zealand or Fiji, who will face off on Saturday night in Hull.
Coach Michael Cheika will now devote all of his focus to the other code and Argentina’s fall international match against Eddie Jones’ England at Twickenham on Sunday. Lebanon were never in the game due to the apparent disparity in class.
Addo-Carr entered the match with six tries, two fewer than Young, but inside the first 18 minutes as the Kangaroos got out to a fast start, he overtook Young as the tournament’s top scorer.
In the fifth minute, he scored the game’s first goal. On the 18th minute, after finishing off a break by the team’s captain James Tedesco, stand-off Cameron Munster snatched the ball from Lebanon full-back Jacob Kiraz with the line open.
Australia obviously took a like to the Cedars’ right edge, and after scrum-half Nathan Cleary decided to run the ball on the final tackle, Addo-center Carr’s Latrell Mitchell disregarded his winger to score the next try himself with a lethal combination of quickness and strength.
Fortunately for Lebanon, the tries were scored in the wide areas, and Cleary’s first four conversion attempts resulted in just one successful attempt.
However, replacement back rower Cameron Murray took advantage of some lax defence to score twice within five minutes, and Cleary increased his success rate to bring the score to 34-0 at halftime.
Early in the second half, Josh Mansour’s turnover allowed his opponent to score four tries, and Cleary’s fourth conversion helped the Kangaroos surpass their 34-0 victory from their sole prior World Cup encounter.
Tedesco, who had a knee ache when the game began, was replaced by Australia coach Mal Meninga at halftime as a precaution. Munster’s shortcomings as a full-back were highlighted when he failed to intercept Moses’ grubber kick, which allowed Mansour to score a consolation try on minute 51.
After a break by hooker Harry Grant, Munster swiftly made apologies with a punt that allowed Addo-Carr to score his fifth try. Second rower Liam Martin then took the short cut for Australia’s ninth try, crashing over from 10 metres away.