Rugby League World Cup 2013 as it happened

Wales lose 32-16 to Italy after Australia beat England 28-20 on the opening day of the Rugby League World Cup.

26 October 2013 Last updated at 19:03

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As it happened

  1. 1856: 

    Right, I think that brings an end to this opening day of the Rugby League World Cup. Have we seen enough to suggest it will be an entertaining, action-packed five weeks? I think so. Our next live text is on Monday evening, when Ireland meet Fiji. See you then.

  2. 1852: 

    Scotland open their campaign on Tuesday against Tonga, before the United States meet the Cook Islands on Wednesday. From next Saturday, we do it all again when England take on Ireland.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "It was groups of errors by England in period of the game and Australia were ruthless."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That element of concentration for England is so important. The damage was done just before and just after half-time."

  5. 1850: 

    Monday evening sees Ireland make their bow, travelling to what could be a hostile Rochdale to meet Fiji. Why hostile you ask? Rochdale has the largest population of UK-Fijians outside of London. Want to know more? Have a little look at this.

  6. 1847: 

    Tomorrow's action should be followed whilst wearing layers of protection. From 1600 GMT (don't forget to put those clocks back), Papua New Guinea meet France in Hull before defending champions New Zealand meet Samoa in Warrington. Hits will be BIG.

  7. 1842: 

    So how was it for you? All you thought it would be and more? I think it's fair to say the Australia-England game was an exceptional way to begin the tournament, frenetic stuff that will hopefully set the tone for the next five weeks. As for Wales, they were undone by an Italy side that look set for a last-eight place. Appetite whetted? Let me tell you what's to come.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "It was a solid performance from Italy and the big players stood out. Anthony Minnichelo, Aiden Guerra, that little bit of extra class and they thoroughly deserved the win. Wales will now need to hope someone beats the Italians."

  9. 1837: 

    Man of the match Josh Mantellato: "Our forwards dominated, which made it easy for us. The win against England gave us come confidence and it was special but tonight was even better because it counts for something. We have the experience and if we can stay injury free then anything is possible."

  10. 1836: 

    Wales coach Iestyn Harris: "I'm bitterly disappointed, but Italy were by far the better side. We didn't deserve anything out of the game. They had a lot of weight of possession, which made it difficult for us and we didn't get into the attacking positions we wanted to be in. It doesn't leave us in tatters but we have some work to do in the next seven days. If we win the next two games we still have a chance of going through."

  11. 1835: 

    Italy coach Carlo Napolitano: "It has been a major couple of years in getting the team together and it is good to see the culmination in beating Wales. When we have the top level of footballer playing, the standard will be better. I am so happy and so proud of the boys. Wales played well and Iestyn Harris will have them firing as a professional outfit. They made it difficult for us and we had to stick to our gameplan."

  12. 1830: 
    FULL-TIME- Wales 16-32 Italy

    In the end, it looks more one-sided than it was, but the fact is that Italy's extra class shone through. Anthony Minichello, Joshua Mantellato and Aidan Guerra were too much for the Welsh. They still have the chance to reach the last eight, but they need to do the business against United States and the Cook Islands.

  13. 79 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Wales 16-32 Italy (Mark Minichello)

    Insult to injury, a tired Wales defence allows Mark Minichello to burst through for a score that puts a lopsided slant on this scoreline. The hooter goes before the kick can be taken, but Josh Mantellato slots it over anyway.

  14. 76 mins: 
    Wales 16-26 Italy

    Wales are still full of spirit, pressing into Italian territory for what feels like the first time in years. They are barely past 30m, though, when the kick is hoisted towards the Millennium Stadium roof, with the dependable Anthony Minichello snuffing out the danger.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Plenty of supporters have left the stadium but a fair few have stuck around to witness a very lively game between Wales and Italy. The players filed past me as they made their not inconsiderable way to the dressing rooms at the break. Lee Briers, never short of a word or two and a member of the Welsh coaching staff here, could be heard muttering under his breath about the distance he had to walk."


    Ian Cann: "Well at the moment, I think Italy may be the 3rd best side in this tournament."

    Matt Davies: "Appalling Wales. Terrible playing. Just giving it away to Italy."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "Aiden Guerra has been different class and the difference between the sides. He spins out of the tackle and what a pass."

  18. 71 mins: 
    TRY- Wales 16-26 Italy (Chris Centrone)

    Welsh hopes must now surely have been extinguished. Chris Centrone stretches the Italian lead, but he owes the score to wonderful work from Aidan Guerra, who spins one tackle and offloads when faced with another. Again Mantellato misses with the kick, but Italy still have a 10-point lead.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales need a big defensive set now. They are in the opposition half."

  20. 68 mins: 
    TRY- Wales 16-22 Italy (James Tedesco)

    That could be the winner. It was wonderful work from Mantellato to collect the cross-field kick then flick the ball into the path of Tedesco. The video ref was looking to see if Mantellato had been tackled, but he kept the ball off the ground. Conversion missed, but Italy well in command.

  21. 68 mins: 

    Is this the ball game? Italy think they've got the ball over the line, a high kick resulting in James Tedesco going over the line. Josh Mantellato collected the original kick, but the video ref is looking for offside...

  22. 65 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy

    "I'm sure our fitness will hold out," says Danny Jones on the Wales bench. He'd better hope so. The clock is ticking for the Welsh and Italy are camped on the Wales line. Plenty of people do go camping in Wales, of course. It usually rains. I prefer a hotel in Llandudno.

  23. 61 mins: 
    OUCH!- Wales 16-18 Italy

    Take that, James Tedesco. Tyson Frizell's tackle is fair, but it gets the Italy centre right in the mush. He goes down like a sack of spuds, but is fine to continue. Italy pushing, but Wales holding on, despite the fact that the Azzurri are having all the possession.

  24. 60 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy

    20 minutes for Wales to get back in this, only two points in it. Decent finish in prospect?

  25. 59 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy

    Chance for Wales, Elliot Kear dancing in the corner before losing his footing. Wales continue to press, ball bouncing around, eventually going behind. Was a Wales player tackled without the ball there? Referee not interested.

  26. 54 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy
    The cameraman's view

    This opening day has been dramatic, colourful, brutal and epic - check out our Instagram page to see a range of photos from behind the scenes at the Millennium Stadium.

  27. 52 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy

    Great pressure from Italy, another kick has full-back Rhys Evans collecting the ball in his in-goal area under pressure from four blue shirts. A Wales drop-out will give Italy the chance to come again.

  28. 51 mins: 
    Wales 16-18 Italy

    It's getting meaty out there, plenty of big collisions in mid-field. A chip and chase has Wales turning to collect from their in-goal area, the ball eventually going into touch in Welsh. Italy pressing the chalk.

    Wales gang up on Italy's Anthony Minichiello

    England's Sam Tomkins: Gutted with the result. We will come back stronger from that though. Great support!

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Great approach play from the Italians, the pass attracts two defenders and Josh Mantellato gets the ball down."

  31. 47 mins: 
    TRY- Wales 16-18 Italy (Josh Mantellato)

    This game twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing. James Tedesco's wonderful underhand offload finds Josh Mantellato, who gets the ball down despite attention from two Wales tacklers. Mantellato looks for the kick from very far out wide, but it's another that doesn't go through the posts.

  32. 45 mins: 
    Wales 16-14 Italy

    According to the BBC's Damian Johnson, one Wales player said at half-time: "Bash them up for 10 minutes and we'll have these." It's a simple game.


    Matt Lakin EM: "Get in there Wales!! Another superb try. How well is Evans playing!"

    Ciann Briggs: "Quality catch."

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "A fantastic try for Wales. A great floated kick from Matt Seamark but as an attacking winger, Elliot Kear was in full-flight, steals the ball in mid air and touches down, great finish."

  35. 42 mins: 
    TRY- Wales 16-14 Italy

    A wonderful start to the second half for Wales, Elliot Kear putting the hosts back into the lead. From the cross-field kick, the Wales wing takes off with a spring-heeled leap, gathering the ball to touch down in the corner. Lloyd White kicks from the right touchline, but he's just drifting past the posts.

  36. 40 mins: 
    KICK-OFF- Wales 12-14 Italy

    Dramatic, Pirates of the Caribbean-style music greets the players as they return to the increasingly cut-up Millennium Stadium turf. Wales have 40 minutes to overturn this two-point deficit.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales need to control Italy around the ruck, slow the game down to a pace they can manage. When they get good field position, they can be dangerous."


    tom regan: "Ray French, legend."

  39. 1740: 

    England captain Kevin Sinfield, speaking after the 28-20 defeat by Australia: "The start of the week was challenging, but we've got a fantastic group and we're united. We started well, but we spilled the ball and got hurt. We'll be better for that. There was never an easy route in this competition but hopefully we can pick up some momentum now and have another crack at the Australians."

  40. 1736: 

    By the way, the peerless Ray French, the voice of rugby league, is commentating on BBC Two. This will be his last live match before he retires from BBC TV after 32 years behind the microphone.

    Ray French commentates

    Kyle Glen: "Good first half by Wales!"

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales are deservedly in this game now. The Welsh replacements could prove key because Gil Dudson, Jordan James and Jacob Emmitt have all come on and created an impact and a little bit of ruck speed has allowed Peter Lupton a bit of space."

  43. 40 mins: 
    HALF-TIME- Wales 12-14 Italy

    There's the half-time hooter. The quality may not be of the highest order, but this game is more than entertaining. That Rhodri Lloyd score has kept Wales in touch with Italy and ensures we're in for a tight second half.


    Gareth W Morgan: "Great try from Wales."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Great try from Wales - Rhys Evans takes a lot of credit for his pace and strength and all Rhodri Lloyd has to do is show up at the right time and didn't the Wigan player enjoy scoring that?"

  46. 37 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Wales 12-14 Italy (Rhodri Lloyd)
    Rhys Evans scores

    A wonderful score from Wales, no more than their pressure has deserved. Great work down the right by Rhys Evans releases Elliot Kear, who in turn feeds Rhodri Lloyd for an unchallenged run to the line. Lloyd White's pinpoint kick gets Wales right in this game.

  47. 36 mins: 
    Wales 6-14 Italy

    Here come Wales again, Jordan James breaking through the Italian defence. Wales held up on the line, kick attempted, Italy gather despite a hint of offside. Italy look to be hanging on until the break.

  48. 34 mins: 
    Wales 6-14 Italy

    Last tackle, kick goes up, suspicion of an Italian knock-on, but the referee backs the Azzuri. Wales should take heart from that industrious attack.


    Andrew George: "Italy are strong this year. They have surprised me."

    Matt Davies: "Wales are very defensive against Italy. Good skill which comes through but more needed to push through."

  50. 32 mins: 
    Wales 6-14 Italy

    Slightly flat inside the Millennium, certainly much less raucous than the entertainment of earlier in the afternoon. Wales looking to use the ball with head and feed at a halfway scrum, with a penalty then earned. Six to come from about 30m out...

    Italy stop Rhys Evans
  51. 28 mins: 
    PENALTY- Wales 6-14 Italy (Josh Mantellato)

    Italy pressing, applying pressure to the Wales line around the 22m. Wales creaking, penalty conceded, Josh Mantellato making no mistake from under the posts. It's starting to look a big ask for Wales.

  52. 24 mins: 
    Wales 6-12 Italy

    Wales finding themselves under sustained pressure, struggling to get the ball from their own half. Their solution is a little too intricate, opening the possibility of handling errors. No such problem for Italy, who are quick to move forward.

    George Riley, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "It is premeditated to attack down the left hand side for Italy and they have come up with two tries. They deserve that advantage."

  54. 20 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Wales 6-12 Italy (Aiden Guerra)

    Guerra, on debut, has notched his second score. Punishing some sloppy Welsh, the powerful Guerra bursts over to give Italy the lead. Once again, Joshua Mantellato is booting through the posts. It may not have the quality of the Australia-England game, but this is entertaining nevertheless.

  55. 20 mins: 

    The video referee is the busiest man in Cardiff. Aiden Guerra thinks he's crossed for Italy, but there's no assurance that he's got the ball grounded before being held up by two Wales tacklers. Video ref Shayne Hayne, get your feet from the desk and watch the replay.

  56. 18 mins: 
    NO TRY- Wales 6-6 Italy

    Boos in Cardiff, the subdued atmosphere livened by the sense of injustice towards the home side. Kear was adjudged to have stolen the ball in a two-on-one tackle. To be fair, he did look rather surprised when he wasn't immediately penalised.

  57. 18 mins: 

    Now then, are Wales ahead? Elliot Kear comes up with the ball and has a free run to the line. Has he taken that legally? How many men were in the tackle? We'll have a look...

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Both sides are in the game now they've hit each other with a try."

  59. 14 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Wales 6-6 Italy (Ben Evans)

    Wales are back in business, thanks mostly to Evans' persistence, but also the dithering of Italy full-back Anthony Minichiello. While he flapped around the bouncing ball, Evans nipped in for the grounding. Lloyd White kicks us level.

  60. 14 mins: 

    Have Wales hit back? Ben Evans follows Lloyd White's grubber, which the Italian defence makes a complete hash off. Evans reaches out to ground the ball, but we're going to take as second look.


    Paul Glover: "Australia B, I mean Italy playing well against Wales."

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "Aiden Guerra has come from nowhere. He was a rotation player for the Sydney Roosters and has come into his own this year. For all of Elliot Kear's talents with ball in hand, it was a bit of a miss-match and Italy draw first blood."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Aiden Guerra is hard to stop. Once the break was made, Wales had no chance - Guerra is a world-class player."

  64. 8 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Wales 0-6 Italy (Aiden Guerra)
    Italy celebrate

    After their win over England, we thought Italy would be strong and they take the lead through Aidan Guerra. It's a score made by the powerful running of Paul Vaughan, who breaks the Wales line. When Guerra gets the ball on top of the line, his job is simply to fall over the whitewash. Josh Mantellato adds a good kick from near the touchline. Wales up against it.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "This game might be decided by the bounce of the ball - but I think Ian Webster had too many Weetabix this morning because he wellied that one then. He had no chance of catching it."

  66. 6 mins: 
    Wales 0-0 Italy

    Chance for Wales, Ian Webster chasing the bouncing ball, kicking it past the final Italian defender, but it has too much on it and dribbles out of play.


    England coach Steve McNamara after his side's loss at the hands of Australia: "We are frustrated. We started superbly and had lots of energy. The two tries conceded before and just after half time cost us. The possession cost us at times but if we play to our capability and respect the ball. We can have a crack at this tournament."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "There's a lot of enthusiasm about Wales' play. Italy have had a lot of the ball, but there's always a red shirt there to put out the fire. A good start for the Wales defence."

  69. 2 mins: 
    Wales 0-0 Italy

    Slightly more subdued atmosphere inside the Millennium, but that doesn't stop Cameron Ciraldo from flattening Lloyd White off the ball. White looks a little dazed, Ciraldo goes unpunished.


    Henry Hitchen: "Great opening game despite the result! Looking forward to the rest of the games!"

  71. 1 mins: 
    Wales 0-0 Italy

    Sausage roll eaten. It was delicious.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expertWales v Italy

    "The Welsh boys look a little bigger than the Italians, it will be interesting to see how they get on."

  73. 0 mins: 

    Think we're dealing with two minnows of the world game? Think again. Both sides are packed with talent from the Super League and NRL. We're under way.

  74. 1640: 

    Two stonking anthems here. If, like me, you're something of an anthem geek, you're in for one helluva tournament. I make no apologies for constant anthem references over the coming five weeks.

  75. 1637: 

    Having four teams playing at one ground on the same day causes logistical problems. The Wales and Italy teams emerge down a staircase opposite the tunnel from where Australia and England appeared. Anthems time.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expertWales v Italy

    "Guys from the southern hemisphere might not be used to pitches like this - they're used to rattling around in hot conditions, not wet pitches in Wales. That can help the northern hemisphere teams in this competition."

    Eorl Crabtree, England prop and BBC Sport expertWales v Italy

    "It's a surprise that it's so slippery out there. The pitch is cutting up too. At half-time, you could see the Australian players having to scrape mud off their boots."

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expertWales v Italy

    "It was a great performance by Italy last week - it surprised the entire rugby league world. Nobody believed they could beat an England team which has been preparing for a World Cup for three years. That will put Wales on alert today because Italy will be full of confidence."

  79. 1634: 
    Wales v Italy

    Need reminder of why Wales and Italy, teams in two separate groups, are playing each other? Whereas groups A and B consist of four teams, C and D have only three each. Therefore, teams in the latter must play game against a side from the other group. Got that? Three teams from each of groups A and B go through to the last eight, with the group winners going through from C and D.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "Its has been a disastrous preparation week for England but hey have silenced some critics with that performance. The debutants put their hands up with their performances and the senior players have stood up too."


    Wayne Berry: "Well we was never going to beat them twice so hopefully we beat them in the final."

    Andrew George: "Great game no disgrace for effort and manpower."

    Andrew Hobson: "Fantastic advert to Rugby League that game. Well done Aus. Hopefully see you in Manchester on Nov 30th."

  82. 1630: 

    Time to draw breath? Not a bit of it. Switch yourself over to BBC Two for Wales v Italy. Still no sausage roll for the live text commentator.

  83. 1630: 
    Australia 28-20 England

    England head coach Steve McNamara, speaking to BBC Sport: "The way we started was great, but then we stopped playing a little bit in the second half. We gave away too many penalties and lost too much field position. We dropped off on a couple of occasions and you can't do that against the best team in the world. We did our job this week - we've got 17 blokes we deserved their shirts and we've got another seven who are desperate to be involved next week."

  84. 1628: 
    Australia 28-20 England

    Australia's Johnathan Thurston, speaking to BBC Sport: "Our performance was rusty to start with and England got a couple of tries. But we stuck to our gameplan and got there in the end. England are a great side with quality players and they stuck it at us today but we stuck together and got through it. In the second half we controlled the game, we stuck to our guns and got away with it."


    Mike: "Very very encouraging from England."

    Ashley Hughes: "England were great today, definitely got a chance in this world cup!"

    =: "Brilliant performance from England. Aussies lethal at times. Big decisions all went to the Aussies."

  86. 1626: 

    The upshot of that is that England are now likely to face a semi-final meeting with New Zealand, so long as they come through their remaining group matches against Ireland and Fiji. The Irish are next up this time next week.

    England tackle Billy Slater
    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "A cracking Test match and very, very encouraging for England and the tournament as a whole. Good atmosphere, cracking game and another fixture still to come in Wales v Italy."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "I think England have put aside the distractions of this week and shown their worth. It's the basics where they can do better and that's encouraging because they can get better."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "It has been fantastic and a lot of promising signs for England. Kevin Sinfield and Rangi Chase have done really well in the halves and the forwards have been outstanding, punching some real holes in the Aussie side."

  90. 80 mins: 
    FULL-TIME- Australia 28-20 England

    The hooter signals the end of an exhilarating start to this Rugby League World Cup. The wrong result for England, but they will take heart for the rest of the competition. After the week the hosts have had, many were predicting a shellacking, but they have more than competed with the Aussies, who just had a little too much class.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "It's been a great performance by England. The difference is their lack of discipline in the second half and some handling errors in the first - but there's not been too much in it."

  92. 79 mins: 
    Australia 28-20 England

    The clock ticking down, Sam Tomkins error gives the Aussies a scrum in front of the England posts. The game looks up.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "There is a long way to go in the World Cup yet. Josh Charnley scored against the run of play after Australia took control. It sets up with a little bit of confidence going into the rest of the tournament. They can have their heads held high and the forwards have played very well."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "England fans should be encouraged by this performance. They have competed all the way and been a threat but they have just given Australia too much possession in the second half."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "It's the mistake they wanted - they have got something out of nothing."

  96. 76 mins: 
    TRY- Australia 28-20 England (Josh Charnley)

    What a gift, a huge Aussie error lets England back in. Billy Slater flattened, the rest of the defence asleep, Josh Charnley running in unchallenged. A huge kick coming up from Kevin Sinfield, land this and England are within a score. From the line, it doesn't threaten and England must score twice in the final four.


    Wales: R. Evans, Kear, Lloyd, Webster, Williams, White, Seamark, Kopczak, Budworth, Flower, B. Evans, Frizzel, Patrick.

    Interchange: Dudson, Lupton, James, Emmitt.

    Italy: A. Minichiello, Mantellato, Tedesco, Guerra, Centrone, Falcone, Ghietti, Laffranchi, Parata, Vaughan, M. Minichiello, Ciraldo, Riethmuller.

    Interchange: Nasso, Gardel, Tramonte, Santi.

    Referee: Ashley Klein (Australia)

  98. 75 mins: 
    Australia 28-16 England

    How disappointing is this for England? After the week they have had, some may even think that Steve McNamara's men have exceeded expectations. They certainly have not played badly, indeed, they ruled the first 20 minutes. However, just as we thought they might, Australia have punished every single mistake.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "It wouldn't be a fair reflection of the game if Australia extended their lead much more."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "It's absolutely disheartening. I think England may be feeling the omission from the team of Rob Burrow - he may have added the little X-factor in the last 20 minutes or so."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  101. 70 mins: 
    TRY- Australia 28-16 England (Darius Boyd)

    That might be the moment that seals it for the Aussies. The ball worked from right to left, Boyd eventually stooping below the tackle of Leroy Cudjoe to cross right in the corner. Thurston's attempt at the kick is horrible, but it seems unlikely to matter. He's even relaxed enough to take a bow in front of the baying England fans.

  102. 70 mins: 

    Is this the ball game? The Aussie pressure has been sustained and now looks to have resulted in what could be a decisive score. It's Darius Boyd in the corner, but we need a second look.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "England have to hang on here because they still have a chance in this game. There's not much between these two sides at the moment"

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Some really big efforts from England. The lads are having to work hard and to cover each other."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  105. 70 mins: 

    ...somehow England hang on, the grubber kick collected with Slater lurking, ready to pounce on any mistake. There's still time for England, but they are struggling to get the ball out of their own half.

  106. 68 mins: 
    Australia 24-16 England

    England struggling to get in from their own 22m, Ryan Hall dithering, but Kallum Watkins' superb kick relieves the pressure. Australia, though, are looking in control and have the ball back up the other end in a flash. With England under pressure, Carl Ablett takes out Billy Slater, giving the Aussies another six...

    Two Burgess brothers try to stop Paul Gallen
    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "I think that England need to be playing in the right areas. They still have the power up front to trouble the Australians."

  108. 64 mins: 
    PENALTY- Australia 24-16 England (Johnathan Thurston)

    Is England's discipline slipping? Penalty conceded inside the 22m, smiles on the Aussie faces as Thurston slots the kick. More than one score needed by England once more.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "It's a really tough game. Sam Burgess is renowned as a tough competitor in the NRL and hopefully there will be no disciplinary action on the back of that. But this is the sort of intense game we all wanted to see."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "England have to keep their discipline and to stop conceding penalties because we have seen how class the Aussies can be."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  111. 62 mins: 
    OUCH!- Australia 22-16 England

    My word Sam Burgess, what are you thinking here? Emotions have got the better of Burgess and he has flattened Sam Thaiday with a swinging arm. The Aussie second row is no small man, but he hit the deck and didn't move for some time. Burgess is lucky to only go on report, rather than be taking an early shower. Thaiday is back on his feet, but it could be tasty for the last quarter.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "England have had to edge back into the game and they have done it well. Australia have sent Robbie Farah on and he will inject some pace in the last quarter."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  113. 62 mins: 
    Australia 22-16 England

    Slightly panicked from England, Westwood the man in the thick of it again. A poor play-the-ball is ruled as a knock-on and the chance is gone. Blood leaking from below his bandage, Westwood is forced off for some stitches.


    Rob Mitchell: "That's a lot of claret from Ben Westwood."

    Dale Ward: "Ben Westwood having an Aussie-made facelift."

    Haydn Witchalls: "State of Ben Westwood's face!"

  115. 61 mins: 
    Australia 22-16 England

    Westwood is ticking. When Andrew Fifita lifts the legs of Sam Tomkins in the tackle, Westwood is in for some argy-bargy. Penalty to England, deep kick, set of six 25m out. Cardiff rocking.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "This is the sort of match the tournament organisers must have been dreaming about - a decent crowd in the Millennium Stadium, the fans right behind England and the game in the balance with 20 minutes left. Of course, England were close to the Aussies with 20 minutes of the 2011 Four Nations final remaining before they were blown away."

  117. 60 mins: 

    England pressing, the deep kick bouncing around the Aussie 10m, with white shirts then flying into tackles. Ben Westwood is one of those putting his body on the line, a stray limb catching him on the forehead to draw a huge stream of blood. A quick towel-down, some tape to the wound, the claret is removed. Get on with the game. Different breed.

  118. 58 mins: 
    Australia 22-16 England

    What a tackle, a trysaver from Sam Tomkins. Brett Morris was in, the line at his mercy, only for Tomkins to come across and push the Aussie wing into touch. "Stand up for the Engerland," rings around Cardiff. Game still on.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Ben Westwood's biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He is a very tough player and can be very intimidating, and has been extremely domineering for Warrington this season."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  120. 57 mins: 
    Australia 22-16 England

    Frenetic stuff as the Aussies knock again. Five in, Cooper Cronk looks for the grubber, but held by Kallum Watkins. Gareth Widdop on for England, equilibrium reached again. For now.

    Greg Inglis passes
    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The longer this game goes and England can keep challenging, I think the Australians could wobble because they haven't played a lot together over the last few weeks."

  122. 53 mins: 
    Australia 22-16 England

    Aussies rattled again, another good set from England ending with the ball bouncing around the Kangaroos' 10m. Finally it's gathered, eventually booted down field. Some dallying almost has Rangi Chase in trouble, but England can come again.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "When England get close to the Australian line, the Burgess brothers have to be the go-to players. They are causing problems for the Australians."

  124. 51 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 22-16 England (George Burgess)
    George Burgess

    England are back. Burgess, unlike in the first half, had control of the ball as it was placed over the whitewash. With Kevin Sinfield adding the kick, the hosts are within a score. What a game.

  125. 50 mins: 

    George Burgess is my new hero. He's been battering his way into the Aussies all afternoon and may have given England a lifeline here. First he gains territory by smashing into the line, then brother Sam creates the chance for George to hammer the door down. But, the video ref will make us wait...

    The video referee
    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Tense, very tense, inside the Millennium Stadium. There has been a real momentum shift and the crowd know it. England must score next but are under increasing pressure. These are the tough times England must come through if they want to beat a team like the Aussies."


    Adam Irving: "Outplayed them... Been robbed with the last try, outrageous. I don't buy we can't match them! Get intensity back!"

    Matt Williams: "And the flood gates are down!"

    Samwell: "England slowly losing it."

  128. 48 mins: 
    Australia 22-10 England

    A huge task faces England if they are to find a way back into this game. Even if the result doesn't go their way, you feel they must at least compete in the rest of this second half for the sake of their long-term hopes in this tournament. A steamrollering here could have longer-term implications.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "I am still not disheartened but we haven't seen Rangi Chase come up with anything special yet. It is up to him or Sam Tomkins to come up with something for England now."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That's the difference at this level of play. A great kick by Cameron Smith and Charnley was adjudged to have just touched the touchline - but I don't think he did."

  131. 44 mins: 
    TRY- Australia 22-10 England (Brett Morris)
    Brett Morris scores

    Controversy, or simply the fine margins between these sides? Where Slater kept the ball in play, Josh Charnley is adjudged to have brushed the whitewash as he chased the ball booted by Cameron Smith. Head and feed at the scrum for the Aussies, ball moved cross-field into the hands of Brett Morris, who crosses to extend the Aussies lead. Boos in Cardiff. Was Charnley in touch? No matter now, the points are on the board. Thurston off the mark with the conversion.

  132. 42 mins: 
    Australia 18-10 England

    Amazing agility from Billy Slater prevents an England 40/20, allowing the Kangaroos to go through their set, culminating with Cooper Cronk's deep kick. Back come England for the mid-field ruck.


    shaun reeve: "Need a big second half from the pack. Chase off and Widdup on. Come on England."

    Mick Hall: "First 30 minutes great entertainment, last 10 same old England. Like watching a film and knowing how it's going to end."

    Shaunyboy: "A lot can change in 40mins, keep your head up! Think Positive!"

  134. 40 mins: 

    We're back out. You ready? There goes the kick...


    Chris Postlethwaite: "England just need to keep the pressure on and now score after the restart and push."

    Owen Midha: "Great start to the World Cup, impossible to predict this game."

    Martin Fowler: "England are lacking experienced talented players in this match! Proves Crabtree and Morley should be in the squad!"

    Eorl Crabtree, England prop and BBC Sport expert

    "England need to take confidence in what they were doing early on like running at the opposition and controlling the ruck area. But they can't keep making mistakes which often happens when you get tired."

  137. 1528: 

    Shots on the telly from inside both dressing rooms. Aussies mainly seated, England on their feet. Can they respond?

    If the rest of the World Cup matches up to those first 40 minutes, they may need a defibrillator.


    Former England captain Jamie Peacock: "That's hurt us. We can still do this. Proper Test Match... Need to get back to having better ball control like the 1st 20mins."

  139. 1526: 

    I think it's fair to say that first half was frantic. There was no time, even, for a single bite of my sausage roll.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "It is still well poised but it highlights that against Australia you can't have a couple of off-sets."

    Greg Inglis passes

    Deano: "Giving the Aussies too much time. Now need to get straight back at them, hit them fast and hit them hard."

    Kev Best: "Crowd need to pick the boys up, be the 14th man."

    Eorl Crabtree, England prop and BBC Sport expert

    "It was a strange first half. Australia built into this game. It looked too easy for England in the first 20 but Australia got a lot better."

  143. 1522: 

    England's Sam Tomkins on BBC One: "We lost a little bit of shape and we have to sort it out. We believe in ourselves. We just need a bit more ball down the other end."

    Australia's Billy Slater: "We'll be happy with the second 20 - we had too many errors early on."

  144. 1522: 

    Players are being interviewed at half-time!

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "England will be sat in the changing room thinking about how to start the second half and to pressure the Aussies. They don't need to worry too much about what has gone on but I'll will be looking at how England come out and build their sets."

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Superb first half of the World Cup, but England fans here are clearly stunned at the break after Australia's late try put the Kangaroos eight points ahead. England noticeably lost some of the enthusiasm and energy that saw them dominate the opening 20 minutes. They were making less easy yards through the middle and giving away far too many sloppy penalties. Billy Slater's late try is a real kick in the teeth."

  147. 1519: 
    HALF-TIME- Australia 18-10 England

    It started with so much promise for England, but the half-time buzzer is almost a horn of foreboding. So strong for the first 20 minutes, they have been undone in the latter stages of the first half. They may be able to stomach Inglis, Thurston and Smith, but the sloppy defending that let Slater in will be hard to take.


    Rory Malloch: "Billy Slater is in a league of his. Unbelievable talent."

    Mark Halstead: "I feel like I've watched this match before!!"

    cameron shepherd: "Normal service is resumed."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That was a mistake at the scrum in relation to defensive shape."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "It's heartbreaking, we haven't given up the ghost yet but to concede a try so late in the half is a killer. The Australia performance so far, I'd give them four out of 10 but they have come up with 10 out of 10 from individual plays."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  151. 40 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 18-10 England (Billy Slater)
    Billy Slater scores

    What a hammer blow for England. From the resulting scrum, the ball finds its way to the jet-heeled Billy Slater, who needs only to hand-off one tackle for a clear run at the England line. He's in at the corner, with Thurston brilliantly putting the conversion over from the touchline.

  152. 39 mins: 
    Australia 12-10 England

    Ooohhhh, Sam Tomkins, you were almost in there. With only Billy Slater to beat, the zig-zagging Tomkins is pulled back, rightly, for a forward pass.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "This in an international game and not everybody expects it to be close. We are kidding ourselves if we think we are going to blow away the Aussies, We are in the contest and need to keep asking the questions for the duration of this game."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Put that second Australian try down to the quality of Thurston's pass to Bird and Bird just needs to get low and hard to the line and Sam Burgess can't stop him. The worry for me is Australia have been given too much ball by England on the halfway line and that put pressure on the line."

  155. 36 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 12-10 England (Greg Bird)

    They were under the pump for so much of this half, but Australia look set to hit the break ahead. The England defence, so often clinging on, can't keep the Aussies out. From a set of six on the 10m line, first Cameron Smith then Thurston pick holes in the line, eventually allowing Greg Bird to reach over. With Thurston adding the extras from a simple kick, England are behind for the first time.


    Barnie Moul: "England look strong but the Aussies look like they could turn it on at any moment."

    Sacha Paddon: "Wales and Italy have some standards of rugby to live up to this afternoon."

    Toni Louise: "Come on England!! Don't get complacent now!!! Keep Australia at the other end!!!"

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "This is a good tactical game - very intense and the crowd are nervous."

  158. 35 mins: 
    Australia 6-10 England

    We've settled slightly, sets of five in mid-field, kick, collect, attack. When Thurston looks to have picked his way through, a big George Burgess arm dispossess him. Very, very close for England.


    Greg Learoyd: "Why Rugby Union is the nation's premier choice of rugby is absolutely beyond me, what a game."

    Craig Davies: "This game is warming up to be a classic."

    Mark Canning: "The first time Billy Slater gets involved in the attack and they score, scary."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "Australia have picked the tempo up. Andrew Fifita has made a difference. England now have to dig deep for the next 10 minutes - to go in four points ahead at the break would be a good shift."

  161. 31 mins: 
    Australia 6-10 England

    They might have to check the foundations at the Millennium when this all done and dusted. It's like a demolition derby in the middle of the park. Ryan Hall the latest England player to tear head-long into the Aussie line, followed by another George Burgess special. The Aussies are certainly slipping into the groove, though. What a contest.

    Australia stop Brett Ferres
    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "You cannot do anything about that finish from Thurston. Inglis is a great player. Two mistakes have given Australia possession in a key part of the field and they have scored."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "We have defended a couple of sets, got a bit tired and Greg Inglis has the nickname 'Testmatch' because he comes up with the big plays in the big games."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  164. 26 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 6-10 England (Johnathan Thurston)

    Just like that, the game can change, thanks to the brilliance of Greg Inglis. The kick hung in the air, Inglis leaping to snatch the ball from the grasp of Sam Tomkins. He can stroll in himself, but instead offloads to Johnathan Thurston, who touches down unopposed and then adds a simple conversion. After all that, England's lead is down to four.


    hannah: "Wow so impressed with England! Was not expecting this."

    Mike Deluce: "Rarely watch Rugby League but this match is great!"

    Chris Steels: "No silly penalties England, this game has been brutal so far!"

  166. 25 mins: 
    Australia 0-10 England

    England under pressure, set of six for the Kangaroos 10m out. Green and gold poring towards a white line. Play switched, Thurston and Cronk the artists, finally the ball pops into the hands of Sam Tomkins, who else? England survive, absorbing everything the Aussies can throw at them.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "An exceptional opening quarter for England. The pack have led from the front and have laid the platform for this excellent start."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Almost a sense of incredibly welcome disbelief here at the Millennium Stadium. England's go-forward is superb, smashing holes in the Aussie defence - again and again. An hour left here but in terms of showing belief and ability England could not have hoped for a better start. Chants of 'Engerland, Englerland' breaking out."

  169. 23 mins: 
    Australia 0-10 England

    Everything is going England's way, Sinfield in to gather as Australia press in response. Ground made by Thomas Burgess, off the bench. Australia, though, beginning to look dangerous again.

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcrl


    Chris Harrison: "I know it's early but I wasn't expecting this from England."

    Felix Keith: "Up the English! A southerner really enjoying the rugby league. Great stuff."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That's a terrific start and a terrific score and a lovely reverse kick from Kevin Sinfield. This England team have started the game on fire. It is an amazing catch and finish from Cudjoe who showed great strength to score the try."

  172. 19 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 0-10 England (Leroy Cudjoe)
    England score a second try

    Listen to the roar inside the Millennium Stadium. It's all pukka from England, the video ref confirming no-one was offside when Sinfield hoisted his reverse kick. Cudjoe did well to collect the high bouncing ball, touching down as the Aussie challengers hit the deck. Sinfield adds the extras. Unbelievably, England are 10-0 up.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Look at the seriousness on the England boys' faces. Leroy Cudjoe has put the ball down but now he's walking back to his position as though he's just taken his dog out for a walk."

  174. 19 mins: 

    Have England done it again? Kevin Sinfield's kick, the bounce, gathered by Leroy Cudjoe...and touched down over the line! England try, but we want another look...

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England and Leeds Rhinos star on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "This is so exciting. I mentioned at the start whether George Burgess and Chris Hill have the experience at this level but they have been the outstanding players and are tearing through the Aussies."

    Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  176. 18 mins: 
    Australia 0-4 England

    Is this the same England team that lost to Italy a week ago? They are finding holes in the Australian defence, Chris Hill almost jinking his way through, only for the ball to slip out when a last-ditch tackle comes in. The Aussies are rattled, Darius Boyd knocking on when they finally get the ball out of their own half.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The Australians know all about George Burgess and what he can do and have to get in front of him but he just couldn't get the ball down. I'm impressed with what England are doing so far."

  178. 15 mins: 
    NO TRY- Australia 0-4 England

    Burgess couldn't quite keep his grip on the ball, it just slipped from his hand before he could get it over. Boos as the decision comes through, but who could have predicted this start from England?

  179. 15 mins: 

    George Burgess, you animal. Smashing into three tackles, he reaches for the line. Cheers from the crowd, they think he's over. We'll have another look.

  180. 14 mins: 
    Australia 0-4 England

    ...and another penalty, another set of six with England on top of the Aussie line...

  181. 13 mins: 
    Australia 0-4 England

    "Eng-er-land, Eng-er-land," being sung in Cardiff, could we have wished for any more from the start of this tournament? Penalty to England, kickable distance, but they take the ground instead. Six to come, England pressing...

    Sam Tomkins looks for a gap
    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "A couple of times Australia have had the ball and they have made some little breaks and England have to stop that."

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Crowd getting right behind England here, cheering on every drive made and tackle put in. A huge roar followed the tournament's opening try from Ryan Hall. England looked nervous in the opening minutes but have settled well and you feel that, for the sake of the game, it is great news that they scored first."

  184. 12 mins: 
    Australia 0-4 England

    The Aussie response is immediate, holes picked in the England defence, but a crossfield kick just evades Darius Boyd on the England right. The hosts survive and begin the task of making ground of their own.


    Chrisdm77: "Get In!!!!"

    Kie Prosse: "George Burgess is a machine!"

    The_Viking:"OH YES!!!!RYAN HALL, what a great play."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "England know what they are doing, they have the confidence. Kevin Sinfield decided to run the ball after being given the penalty and Ryan Hall scores in the corner. After last week's defeat to Italy, people were talking down England but these opening few minutes have been outstanding."

  187. 8 mins: 

    From far wide on the left, Kevin Sinfield is miles off target with the conversion. Looking again at the try, Tomkins missed out two or three Aussie defenders with the moneyball to Hall. Anyone have England 4-0 up in the first 10?

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "What a great start. George Burgess is powering into the Australians and the quick play-the-ball and a set play with a great pass by Sam Tomkins put Hall in. Morris was caught out defensively but it was a great finish by Hall."

  189. 7 mins: 
    TRY- Australia 0-4 England (Ryan Hall)
    Ryan Hall celebrates scoring

    Can you believe this? George Burgess clatters into the Aussie line, a quick play-the-ball followed by one, two, three dummy runs sees the ball to Tomkins, who feeds Ryan Hall on the England left. Battering through two men, he's over the line to give England a dream start.

  190. 6 mins: 
    Australia 0-0 England

    Brilliant again from Tomkins, his kick deep down the Aussie right gaining good territory from England. When the Aussies respond with a kick of their own, Ryan Hall collects and batters into the Aussie line. Better from England. When the ball finds Tomkins, the livewire earns a penalty when the ball is stripped from him in the tackle. The Millennium comes alive whenever he has the ball.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "England have to learn to keep their discipline. Just settle it down. The game isn't going to be won in the first 10 minutes."


    Ashley Hughes: "Stupid pen given away....hit them hard but not so high!"

  193. 4 mins: 
    Australia 0-0 England

    Aussies pressing, held up on the line. Shuffling this way and that, England holding firm, Sam Tomkins eventually collecting the grubber inside his own in-goal area. It was ragged, shabby and a little desperate, but England survived. Just.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The first few sets have been quite physical - just what you expect from a England v Australia game."

  195. 3 mins: 

    What are you doing Ben Westwood? High tackle on Matt Scott 40m out, Australia starting a set within 30m.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England and Leeds Rhinos star on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "In these opening sets, England need to stop Sam Thaiday. We have played the likes of France in the opening games so it is a big game to open with for the in experienced lads like George Burgess."

  197. 2 mins: 
    Australia 0-0 England

    England, mainly in white, left to right as we watch. England kick off, the Aussie kick back into the hands of Sam Tomkins. His early run is the start of decent territory made by England, but a completed set of six sees the ball back in Aussie hands. It's physical, England conceding an early penalty.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "It's going to be a good game but I hope England start well and are patient."

  199. 0 mins: 

    Tick, tick, tick...Boom! The 2013 Rugby League World Cup is away.

  200. 1430: 

    God Save The Queen belted out by the red-tracksuited England players. No more talking, no more hype. Time for action.


    Henry Whelan: "All the rugby league boys are huge, no fat on them at all! looking forward to seeing Tomkins vs Slater."

    Ashley Hughes: "Time for rugby league to show everyone in the UK what a great sport this is! Come on England!"

  202. 1429: 

    Is it OK for an Englishman to like Advance Australia Fair? Because I do.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra expert

    "This tournament could raise the game for the first time in 40-50 years to the next level. We know it's a great product but we need to bring more people to the game and a win today for England would be a massive step in the right direction."

  204. 1428: 

    The Aussies, mainly in green but with gold (yellow) flashes on their shirts are in the tunnel, each next to a mascot. To a man, every one of the Aussie players in engaged in conversation with the youngsters, they are as relaxed as can be. England join them just before the walk into the cauldron, England skipper Kevin Sinfield a stern-faced as a gladiator entering the Colosseum. Here come the anthems..

  205. 1425: 

    Australia coach Tim Sheens on BBC One: "The expectation of victory is not within the group - there is a lot of football to be played in this tournament. The guys have learned to push that level of expectation aside.

    "I said earlier in the week that an embarrassed side is a dangerous side. I expect it to be a tough ferocious contest."

    Robbie Hunter-Paul, Former New Zealand international and BBC Sport expert

    "Steve McNamara has gone for a big pack, their job will be to punch holes in the Aussie defensive line. If they do that, they will create space, particularly for Sam Tomkins."

  207. 1422: 

    Good point, Ali. Can you imagine the games of touch rugby the Burgess boys had in the back garden? Less tagging, lots of flattening.


    Ali Mason: The Burgess household would have brought a whole new meaning to the term "play" fighting.

  209. 1420: 

    The Millennium Stadium pitch has been cleared and the lights have been turned up, signalling an increase in volume in Cardiff. Ten minutes until the Rugby League World Cup gets under way...

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "Sam Burgess is a huge star and probably one of the most revered forwards in world rugby. You don't understand how big he and his brothers George and Thomas are unless you are standing next to them."


    Robbie in Leeds: Even as a huge Leeds fan and an even bigger Kevin Sinfield fan, I can't help but think he shouldn't be wearing the 7 shirt today.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Keep an eye out for Kiwi referee Henry Perenara today - he has got a touch of the Graham Poll about him. The 33-year-old allowed a Cronulla try on the seventh tackle to stand during a crucial NRL play-off game last season. It led to the elimination of the North Queensland Cowboys and saw Perenara stood down by referees chief Daniel Anderson. He also controversially disallowed a Tom Briscoe try during England's 36-20 defeat by Australia at Wembley in November 2011."

    Eorl Crabtree, England prop and BBC Sport expert

    "It's not been a great week and there is a bit of tetchiness there from Steve McNamara but if England unite together what an opportunity they have."

    "And my team-mate Brett Ferres has really taken his chance after not being in the initial squad. He is not a character that will let you down."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The saga around Gareth Hock's omission has dragged on because they didn't put an end to it earlier in the week when they could have done. But it can galvanise a team.

    "There is enough talent there on the England team but is the experience there without the likes of Adrian Morley, Jamie Peacock and Sean O'Loughlin?"

  215. 1413: 

    I think it's fair to say that Steve McNamara wasn't really in the mood for talking there. He looks like a man desperate for this game to get going.

    A little tense.

  216. 1410: 

    England coach Steve McNamara on BBC One: "We're very determined and very much ready, looking forward to the challenge. When you're an international coach, you have tough decisions every week. It's an alien feeling for the seven that have been left out.

    "We've got to be good in nearly every department, near our best. That's what we've been aiming for over a sustained period of time.

    "Most of the words have been said. The players are ready, focussed. Not much more can be said to them."

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcrl

    Dave Gorton: Beers in, missus at work, ready for the RLWC. Time for some real sport.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Ballroom dancing from rugby league legends, a harpist, funked-up classical music, Gareth Thomas scoring a 50-yard unopposed try, volunteers in monster suits and hooded tops. A big globe supporting a man on a sort of mini circular trapeze, 14 large balloons, one for each nation, fireworks (indoor), fire (lots of fire) multi-coloured streamers, glow sticks, face paint - and a slightly bemused but generally appreciative and intrigued crowd. That was the opening ceremony, not for the action."

  219. 1407: 

    Opening ceremony update - we have a a string quartet, an acrobat and fireworks. The roof is closed at the Millennium, giving a night-time feel on this autumn afternoon. With the pitch in use, both sides need to warm-up elsewhere, which they do at the nearby Cardiff Arms Park.

  220. 1405: 

    A bit more news to bring you on that England team. George and Thomas Burgess will be making their international debuts, as will Ferres, who came into the England squad as a replacement for Hock. Liam Farrell and Rob Burrow are the men to drop out from the 19-man squad named earlier in the week.

  221. 1402: 

    For behind the scenes photos from Cardiff go to the BBC Sport Instagram page.

    Fans outside the Millennium Stadium

    Also, TV coverage on BBC One has kicked-off. Get tuned in.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "One player worth a mention is Australia interchange prop Andrew Fifita, who is set to make his debut today after a stunning season for Cronulla. He made 3,129m in the NRL last season, more than any other player, and has put his honeymoon on hold after his recent marriage to Nikkita to be part of the Kanagaroos squad. The guy has got go-forward in a big way, and can obviously handle the tricky conversations on the home front as well."

  223. 1357: 

    Chris Hill's selection in the starting line-up is the culmination of a real fairy story. Two years ago, the 25-year-old was working part-time in a gym and playing with Championship side Leigh before earning a move to Warrington. Last year he won the Challenge Cup with Warrington and is now a key part of Steve McNamara's plans and ready to play on the biggest stage.

  224. 1355: 

    As our man at the Millennium Paul Fletcher said earlier, the opening ceremony is under way in Wales. Experienced opening-ceremony campaigners will know that the staples are all in there. A light show, costumes, colourful banners, giant revolving globe. Here's one thing you don't often see, though, Martin Offiah doing some ballroom dancing.

    The opening ceremony at the Millennium Stadium
  225. 1353: 

    Australia: Slater, Morris, Tate, Inglis, Boyd, Thurston, Cronk, Scott, Smith, Tamou, Bird, Thaiday, Gallen. Interchange: Farah, Fifita, Lewis, Parker.

    England: Tomkins, Charnley, Watkins, Cudjoe, Hall, Chase, Sinfield, Hill, Roby, G Burgess, Ferres, Westwood, S Burgess. Interchange: Widdop, Ablett, Burgess, Mossop.

    Referee: Henry Perenara

  226. 1351: 

    But England have a few stars of their own. Twinkled-toed full-back Sam Tomkins has recently become the most expensive player in the history of the game, while battering ram Sam Burgess arrives from the NRL with twin brothers George and Thomas. George starts today, as does Brett Ferres, who a week ago wasn't even in the squad.

  227. 1349: 

    Seeing a silver lining around the dark cloud, England skipper Kevin Sinfield reckons the drama has created a siege mentality. The only way is up, backs against the wall etc. Home fans better hope he's right. Australia's megastars - Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith et al - will punish any England weakness, just as the Kangaroos have in six meetings dating back to 1995. In that time, the combined score is 224-78 to the Aussies, an average of 37-13.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

    "Roof closed, lights out, spotlights sweeping across the crowd - the opening ceremony of the 2013 World Cup is in full swing. Lots of fans in their seats already, volunteer dancers appearing from all over the place. There will be 1,500 people performing during the ceremony."

  229. 1347: 

    And, as we've touched on already, England's final week of preparations have been as smooth as sandpaper. The calamity began with a warm-up defeat by Italy, minnows ranked as the second-worst team in the tournament. That was followed up by the dumping from McNamara's squad of Gareth Hock, the Salford forward paying the price for oversleeping after a night on the booze. When James Graham was left out of the England 19 for the clash with the Kangaroos, McNamara got so agitated by questions about Hock and Graham that he cut short his pre-match news conference. So far, so turbulent.

  230. 1345: 

    Today's losers are likely to finish second in Group A and probably to have their path to the final blocked by New Zealand - a much harder route. Therefore, England's hopes of winning the tournament as a stand-alone nation for the first time (Great Britain won it three times) and perhaps the success of the tournament as a whole rest much on today's events in Cardiff. If England start with a bang, the imagination of a nation could be captured. Get whalloped, and hopes will plummet faster than a broken lift.

  231. 1344: 

    Which brings us back to England and Australia, the headliners in Group A (they are joined by Fiji and Ireland). Alone, an Australia-England clash is Massive with a big 'M', but today there's even more riding on it.

  232. 1343: 

    Wales are in Group D, alongside the United States and the Cook Islands. Why are they playing Italy, I hear you cry? Well, the teams in Group C and D must play one match against a nation in the other group. Wales have got Italy, who are in with Scotland and Tonga.

  233. 1341: 

    So what about this 14-team/four-group shemozzle? Well, in a bid to avoid one-sided contests, the eight top teams have been split into two groups of four, with the other six in two groups of three. The top three teams from each of the four-team groups qualify for the last eight, along with the winners of the three-team groups.

  234. 1339: 

    Right then, Rugby League World Cup. What do you need to know? 14 teams, split into four groups (more on that in a moment). They will be whittled down to eight quarter-finalists. New Zealand arrive as defending champions having shocked Australia in the 2008 final. But the Aussies are big favourites for the tournament to be played at 21 venues across England, Wales, Ireland and France. Appetite whetted? Check out our in-depth guide.

  235. 1337: 

    Before we get into the meat, I'll set the table. Want to complement your enjoyment of this informative and entertaining live text with some viewing/listening? Australia-England is live on BBC One, with Wales v Italy following on BBC Two. Both games are live on Radio 5 live sports extra, with all that lovely video and audio right here on the BBC Sport website. If you're going a stage further and want to get involved, text 81111, tweet using the hashtag #bbcrl. or join in via our Facebook page.

  236. 1335: 

    But on the first day of this 35-day, 28-game feast of rugby league, there is so much more to talk about than England's colossal tussle with Australia in Cardiff. Co-hosts Wales' meeting with Italy for one. These opening fixtures are served up in a doubled-headed bonanza in the Welsh capital. Australia-England kicks off at 1430 BST, Wales-Italy follows at 1630.

    Millennium Stadium
  237. 1333: 

    OK, maybe I'm getting a little carried away on this opening day of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. But the task awaiting England is hard to understate. The pressure of being hosts has been ramped up by a turbulent run-up to the tournament, a build-up that ends with the challenge of superstar-studded, nine-time champions, still-smarting-from-defeat-in-the-2008-final Australia.

  238. 1332: 

    And now, the last stretch of McNamara's journey has been crossed over a rickety, swaying, unstable rope bridge, one that leads to the Millennium Stadium. Awaiting McNamara and his men are no mice, only Australian monsters.

  239. 1331: 

    But the best-laid schemes of mice and men are often blown to pieces. In the case of McNamara and England, that destruction came in the shape of a dodgy Italian and a few too many beers.

  240. 1330: 

    For three and a half years, Steve McNamara has walked the road to the Rugby League World Cup; waiting, plotting, planning. In coach McNamara's words, his team are "the best prepared side to come from England".