England v France: Rugby League World Cup quarter-final as it happened

England beat France to secure a place in the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals against holders New Zealand at Wembley.

16 November 2013 Last updated at 19:02

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As it happened

  1. 2203: 

    And on that short-sniffing note, I shall depart.

    For more reaction and analysis from Jamie Peacock, Jon Wilkin and Eorl Crabtree, hit the Red Button right now.

    Fiji and Samoa battle to complete the semi-final line-up tomorrow, then from there, it's on to Wembley.

    We'll be back next Saturday for both semis and England's date with the holders. See you then.

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "England need to be better coming out of their own half and when the forwards decide to crash onto the ball and run hard, they will do well next week. They haven't played to the best of their potential so that will be a motivation for them against New Zealand."

  3. 2159: 

    Now this is quite extraordinary. Sam Burgess, greeting some fans, whips his shorts down and presents them to a female supporter.

    With Burgess left in just a pair of red underpants, the lucky lady begins a jig of delight down the stand, then gives them a good sniff.

    She's wearing a wedding ring. I wonder what her husband thinks.

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "We need to see England complete sets and have a good kick chase against a New Zealand side that are a step up in class."

  5. 2157: 

    So we know three of the four semi-finalists - Australia, New Zealand and England are heading to Wembley.

    The final quarter-final is between Fiji and Samoa tomorrow afternoon. They won't need a ball for that one. Big, big hits.

    England 34-6 France

    England prop James Graham: "We put points on the board early doors but looked to score every time we got the ball and made errors. We need to get better next week.

    "We need to complete sets and look after the ball when we have it. New Zealand are a quality side and if you give them the ball easily, they will punish you.

    "You respect all their players, they are the holders and have quality throughout, you saw them last night and how good they can be. "

  7. 2151: 
    Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins

    Sam Tomkins is applauded as he heads down the DW Stadium tunnel for the final time. I wonder when the next time he plays here will be?


    Zoe Seager: A job well done by England

    Matt McGlone: Really disappointed with that performance tonight. Not good enough to win the RLWC 2013 playing like that

    Stacy Phillips: Job done, lack intensity.

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

    "France were there for the taking in that second half. England dominated the ruck for the first 40 minutes but couldn't put them to bed. They have a lot to work on with the performance, but the result was expected. Steve McNamara was in a no-win situation but they could have been better."

    England 34-6 France

    England coach Steve McNamara on BBC Two: "It was very scratchy and I'm disappointed tonight. In terms of performance, we were way down from what we expect.

    "We respected France going into the game but the amount of errors we made was extraordinary for a game of rugby league.

    "We will be fine next week and back to our best against class opposition."

  11. 2148: 

    Steve McNamara has just been speaking on BBC One. It's fair to say that he's not a happy man.

    England 34-6 France

    France coach Richard Agar on BBC Two: "We pulled them apart a few times but were not good enough. the lads dug in really hard and from a playing point of view, pride and commitment can only take us so far. The playing pool in France needs to grow and those are questions for those running the game."

    England 34-6 France

    Man of the match Sam Tomkins on BBC Two: "Not the best way to end my last game at the DW Stadium but it is important to get the win. I have said all my goodbyes here so tonight was about winning.

    "We played well in patches and went sloppy when we knew the game was won and have to improve against the Kiwis. Everyone was fully focused on what we had to do and we have to play better next week."

  14. 2147: 

    The France players huddle, their World Cup over. They begin a lap of honour, greeting a decent number of French fans that inside the DW.

  15. 2145: 

    Are England a 20-minute team? On this evidence, yes. Four tries came in 19 first-half minutes, but aside from that it was all a little flat. In four games in this tournament, England have played for 80 minutes.

  16. 2142: 

    Sam Tomkins, the man of the match, is back on the pitch on his final appearance at the DW. The players are swapping shirts and generally having a bit of a cuddle. Lots of England players stand still in the middle. It looks like they aren't quite sure what to make of that either.

  17. 80 mins: 
    FULL-TIME- England 34-6 France

    So England are through to the World Cup semi-finals. Has it been convincing? Not really, but they did all they needed to do. I'm not sure New Zealand will be worried, though.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "So we all move on to Wembley for the semi-final double header after another comfortable if not entirely convincing England victory. The crowd were right behind the host nation but there was not all that much for them to cheer after the break. The odd scuffle seemed to ignite them the most."

  19. 78 mins: 
    England 34-6 France

    Wowzers, strong words from Lauren (below). Do you agree? Text and tweet.


    Lauren from Halifax: What a waste of money - sat in the stands watching this match is like watching paint dry. Sam Burgess doesn't look like he can be bothered an inch and such a pathetic team attitude for players at an international level is embarrassing. This England team is a joke and if we play like this against New Zealand we might as well not bother showing up.

  21. 76 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 34-6 France (Brett Ferres)

    He has. With the clock ticking down, the France defence has knocked off for the evening. With more holes than a fishing net, Brett Ferres can wander through for the simplest of scores. As the video ref looks for obstruction, he almost refers to the France defence as Catalan Dragons. Steady on. Kevin Sinfield kicks what are likely to be the final points from under the posts.

  22. 76 mins: 

    Has Brett Ferres proved me wrong?

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

    "Job done by England but it is almost a sense that they breathed a sigh of relief and downed tools after the 49th minute."

  24. 73 mins: 
    SIN-BIN- England 28-6 France

    And that is the end of Sam Tomkins' DW Stadium career. For now anyway. Damien Cardace gathers the loose ball in his own 10m and is on the break, eventually caught by Tomkins and Brett Ferres. For the afters, though, Tomkins is sent to the sin-bin, meaning he won't finish his final game at his old Wigan home before his move to the NRL.

  25. 72 mins: 
    England 28-6 France
    Sam Burgess is tackled

    Are we going to see another try in this game? I'm starting to think not.

  26. 70 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    Scrum for England, but nothing doing, France even begin their own roll down field. A wonderful six gains ground to the halfway line, with a grubber allowing Remi Casty to run. A bit of football gets the French another six 20 out. Good stuff.

  27. 68 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    England finally doing some pressing of their own, Sam Burgess held up with the line only a couple of blades of grass away. Then swift handling almost creates space for Liam Farrell, with a Clint Greenshields knock-on giving England another chance.


    jason moorhouse: England need to pick their game up for next week's clash against the Kiwis or we will be out

  29. 64 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    France have had 53% of possession in this second half so far. If we accuse England of switching off slightly, we should at least acknowledge how well they have defended.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    The weather might be playing a part but it is all a bit scruffy. This is a prolonged period of possession for France but Mon Dieu, they just can't get over the line. England are defending the line well and that is a pleasing aspect."

  31. 61 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    Bar that O'Loughlin try, England have been forced to do most of the defending in this second half. Good French play, or slack from England? Still no evidence that England can do more than put one decent 20-minute spell together.

  32. 59 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    "Sorry mate", Ben Westwood dances with pain when his ankle gets tangled in the leg of Remi Casty. Kallum Watkins makes a Horlicks of a catch and knocks on, giving France the scrum 10 out. On play one, though, Younes Khattabi throws the ball out of play. We're flat in the Wigan rain right now.

  33. 56 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    Whoops, Sam Tomkins slips on his backside and almost has the embarrassment of seeing a French runner gather the ball. Up quick as a flash, Tomkins tidies, beginning another England attack.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "England have been ruthless at times and especially the middle players, James Graham is having a huge night with his passing as well as his running and Sean O'Loughlin too with his defence have been key figures."

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

    "At times England have had a lapse in concentration and that has led to a dip in performance on the pitch. We saw it against Australia, and against Fiji plus today too. They need to iron those out."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "It has all gone a little flat here at the moment. The game is in the bag, England appeared to have eased off the gas a little and some minds might have starting drifting towards next Saturday and the crunch semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley."

  37. 53 mins: 
    England 28-6 France

    Bar that early lapse, England's defending has been solid this evening. They show their steel again in the face of two French sets of six. It's an improvement on last week, when Fiji founds holes in the wall of white. An encouraging sign for the semis.

  38. 50 mins: 
    England 28-6 France
    Kallum Watkins fights to catch the ball

    Has the sting gone out of this contest? Perhaps. England, though, will want to show they can put long periods of good play together. They will need 80 minutes' worth against Kiwis at Wembley.

    Keith Senior, Former GB, England and Leeds centre and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Now is the time for England to build for next week. We knew we were going to win, but George Burgess has been one of the stand-out performers in this World Cup. When you have James Roby behind him, they can cause the damage."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  40. 47 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 28-6 France (Sean O'Loughlin)
    Sean O'Loughlin goes over for a try

    It gets better for England, the video ref confirming that Sean O'Loughlin's try was pukka. Started by the battering of George Burgess, Rangi Chase's kick is patted back by Ryan Hall. With the ball still alive, O'Loughlin batters through and Kevin Sinfield kicks the extras.

  41. 47 mins: 

    Is Sean O'Loughlin in here? We need to look for offside...

  42. 46 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    Plenty happening here, first Sam Burgess driven back in the tackle, then Rangi Chase pickpocketed by Olivier Elima. Rain falling in Wigan, it could be about to get greasy.

  43. 43 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    Almost a repeat of the start of the first half. Good work by Thomas Bosc and Clint Greenshields as France work the ball right, Morgan Escare could be in, but the ball is knocked on.

  44. 40 mins: 

    Back under way, 40 minutes to reach the last four...


    Guardian journalist Andy Wilson in Australia: Aussie presenter apologising for impenetrable O'Loughlin accent in half-time interview, says they'll work on subtitles.

  46. 2057: 

    What do we make of all that? Convinced by England? Text 81111, or tweet #bbcrl. You can also check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

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    Mary Jaquemin: Hair raising and amazing!

    Stu Morris: Bring on New Zealand

  48. 2049: 

    Just to reiterate, England's four tries came in a 19-minute period. They have the second half to prove they are not a 20-minute team.

    France stop England's Rangi Chase
    Tulsen Tollett, Former Super League star and BBC Sport expert

    "Pleasantly surprised with France. England will benefit greatly from this performance from their opponents looking ahead."


    England's Sean O'Loughlin on BBC Two: "The scoreboard showed our dominance but we are coughing far too much ball up. We are pleased with some of the defence and attack but not a total 40 minutes."

    Keith Senior, Former GB, England and Leeds centre and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "That first half performance is nothing to be excited about. The defence needs to improve massively and when you have the Kiwis and Aussies running at you in numbers, it will be a different matter."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "England in control now but it has hardly been a textbook 40 minutes from the host nation, who fell behind and have been patchy to say the least. New Zealand, who lie in wait, led 32-0 at the break when they played France and will not be too concerned by what they have seen."

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

    "France coach Richard Agar has something to work on but England will be confident of putting this game to bed in the second half."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "I'd like England to get to their end of the field a bit better in the second half but their defence has been good and you'd better believe they will get a defensive workout next week."

  55. 40 mins: 
    HALF-TIME- England 22-6 France

    The end of a slightly strange first half. England will be happy with the scoreline, but maybe not how they started. Also, have we seen their traditional 20-minute burst come and go?

    England celebrate
  56. 36 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    Fourth tackle, cross-field kick, up goes Josh Charnley, grabbing the ball and adjudged to have been tackled in the air. England can finally breathe again.

  57. 35 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    England having to defend again, the home side stretched. Rangi Chase's flap is forward, but France pass the ball out of play. No advantage, says the ref, another set of six to come.

    George Riley, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "Michael McIlorum hauled off and straight on to exercise bike. Tactical change he tells me. Not at all happy."

  59. 32 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    Very, very close for France as first Clint Greenshields and then Seb Raguin are held up with the line looming. England showing more steel than earlier, but this is a decent little response from the men in blue.

  60. 31 mins: 
    England 22-6 France

    Since scoring that shock opener, France have barely been out of their own half. Thomas Bosc's 40/20 attempt is eventually dealt with by Sam Tomkins, but Ryan Hall's forward pass means England have to defend again.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "Anything you can do..... Josh Charnley milking the applause from the Wigan crowd, then minutes later fellow winger Ryan Hall scores on the opposite side of the field. After the unexpected start, England's four tries have settled the home fans and there is an atmosphere of expectancy here now."


    Humphrey Flange: Quality England ball offloads.

    RobbieMc: English outclassing French foes.

    Ian Forster: This Is Too Easy.

  63. 27 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 22-6 France (Ryan Hall)
    Ryan Hall scores his second try

    Anything one winger can do, the other can match. Yet again it's a James Graham carry that allows the ball to this time be shifted left. Leroy Cudjoe has one blue shirt between him and the line, but the supporting Ryan Hall only has to catch and touch down. Sinfield has his kicking boots back on, England are almost out of sight.

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

    "Don't discount he contribution from Rangi Chase there. He fizzed a ball out to Kallum Watkins, who pulled in a France defender, before a flick out of the back of the hand for Josh Charnley to score."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  65. 24 mins: 
    TRY- England 16-6 France (Josh Charnley)

    England are cooking now. A move started by the drive of James Graham sees the ball shifted right. Kallum Watkins attracts three blue shirts then pulls out a backhanded offload to the waiting Josh Charnley, who only has to finish and dance in delight. For once, Kevin Sinfield can't do the business, but England look to be over that early scare.

    Kallum Watkins
    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "England are looking good at the moment. Chris Hill has added a lot to the team as has Sean O'Loughlin."


    BBC Sport's Phil Cartwright: "Sam Tomkins enjoying himself on his final appearance at the DW Stadium. Set up both England tries. And Ryan Hall absolutely deadly from that range."

  68. 22 mins: 
    England 12-6 France

    ...ah, halted by some crossing. France have the chance to run clear.

  69. 21 mins: 
    England 12-6 France

    England threatening again, they look dangerous every time they enter French territory. Sam Burgess, the animal, looks to batter through, but France hold. Just. Then Sam Tomkins has a go, stopped illegally by the men in blue. Six to come...

    BBC Radio 5 live

    England's Gareth Widdop who misses out today: "It was a bit sloppy at the start but we have got back into the game. Our discipline has letting us down and if we keep pressuring, we will score more points."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "France should beware when Sam Tomkins gets the ball. Another great long pass from him out to Ryan Hall for the Leeds man to score."

  72. 18 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 12-6 France (Ryan Hall)
    Ryan Hall scores

    That tackle on Chase gave England field position in the shape of a penalty. When Sam Tomkins joins the attack, his long pass finds Ryan Hall, the winger with chalk on his boots, finishing for his 20th international try. England finally settled? Sinfield does the rest.

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

    "The French are not gong to take backward step, we saw a physically brutal game when they played Samoa."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  74. 17 mins: 
    OUCH!- England 6-6 France

    Ooooffff! Take that. Rangi Chase is cut down by a neck-high challenge from Morgan Escare. Pushing and shoving. Our man Morgan should probably expect some treatment later on.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "How do you reignite the Wigan crowd? Well, a move involving former Warriors favourite Sam Tomkins offloading to cherry and whites winger Josh Charnley isn't a bad idea. Decibel levels restored."

  76. 15 mins: 
    England 6-6 France

    Remember when Rocky chased a chicken? (At least, I think it was Rocky), for chicken, read Sam Tomkins. The man is nearly impossible to catch. A one-handed pick-up at dummy-half, then a winding, meandering run at the France line, with five or six men unable to get a firm grip on the world's most expensive player. It's like he's been greased up.

    George Riley, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "Replacement George Burgess cannot wait to get on, he is like a caged animal on the touchline."


    Erin: That's more like it!

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Straight from the scrum James Graham attracted the defenders but Sam Tomkins made the try skipping past three defenders and sending a lovely flick pass to Charnley and it was a good finish from the Wigan man."

  80. 10 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 6-6 France (Josh Charnley)
    Josh Charnley scores

    England's lie-in lasted only 10 minutes, the hosts have woken up. Following some handbags between the moustachioed Olivier Elima and Rangi Chase, an England scrum works its way to the magic hands of Sam Tomkins. Jink, step, shimmy, feed Josh Charnley to go over in the corner. It's wonderful from Kevin Sinfield on the touchline, he kicks the game level.

    Stuart Pyke, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "All the passion has come from France in the first 10 minutes here."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  82. 9 mins: 
    England 0-6 France

    Better from the hosts, a completed set ending with Kevin Sinfield's bomb. Up goes Ryan Hall, ball taken but fumbled on landing. France pinned back inside their own 20.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "How do you silence the Wigan crowd? Well, if you're France, it's simple, take the lead with what is just your third try of the tournament. Almost a sense of shock here. It has gone very, very quiet. Party (balloon) punctured, briefly at least."

  84. 7 mins: 
    England 0-6 France

    France are buzzing, the only problem for them is the sight of Bentley hobbling down the tunnel with ice strapped to his calf. Did someone forget to tell England that we've kicked off?


    Adam Herridge: Sacrebleu!

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That was definitely not in the script. That was a great start for France challenging the England defence. Strong finish by Duport and he showed great strength attracting three English defenders, as did Raguin. It is a scruffy start from England."

  87. 4 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- England 0-6 France (Thomas Bosc conversion)

    Duport was holding his forearm just after touching down, but treatment has done the business for him. Thomas Bosc kicks the extras, England stunned to be behind in the early going.

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

    "Terrible start from England after giving a penalty away in midfield. Clint Greenshields' experience is coming to the fore and England need to get their act together quickly."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  89. 4 mins: 
    TRY- England 0-4 France (Vincent Duport)
    Vincent Duport scores

    Can you believe this? France lead in Wigan, Vincent Duport taking Raguin's offload to power over past three England defenders. Thought it would be easy for England? Think again.

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcrl

    Ryan Williams: This is going to be easy for England.

    Stacy Phillips: Great to see the passion from the England RL boys singing the national anthem, much better than the footballers last night.

    Laura Jane: Saturday night and rugby league is on the BBC! All is right with the world!

  91. 3 mins: 
    OUCH!- England 0-0 France

    What an odd start. France hooker Kane Bentley has already withdrawn injured. That France drive was oddly unsupported by the men in dark blue. England ragged, but eventually clear. It turns out that Bentley has done his left calf and might no appear again. How bizarre.

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

    "Now is the time for England to put all the facets together and produce something heading towards a complete performance. I don't think they will need it against France, but they will need something approaching it."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  93. 1 mins: 
    England 0-0 France

    England, all in white, right to left as we watch, drive first. The bouncing ball falls in to the hands of Sebastian Raguin, whose break is stopped by Sam Tomkins. France pressing.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Beware the French. It is a big ask for them but I think they will try to make it physical. England need to keep their composure and do the little things well."

  95. 0 mins: 

    Two begin, only one will advance. This quarter-final is under way.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "Looking like a pretty full house at the DW Stadium. Plenty of pies and pints disappearing in the concourses before kick-off. Cracking set of anthems and off we go. Almost a carnival feel with so many England flags here being waved around."

  97. 2000: 

    St George's flags wave as God Save The Queen is belted out. England throw their red tracksuit tops at the kit man as TV tells us to eat, sleep, league, repeat. We're nearly ready to go.

  98. 1959: 

    An old subject I know, but in this live texter's opinion, the Rugby League World Cup is home to the greatest set of anthems in world sport.

  99. 1957: 

    Pyrotechnics provide welcome heat as the players emerge. Noise deafening. Anthems time. Nervous?

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "England v France. Local Labour MP Andy Burnham in here in Wigan, Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash sat next to the RFL's Nigel Wood."

  101. 1956: 

    Teams in the tunnel, Kevin Sinfield at the front of England's line. Focussed doesn't come close. Those eyes stare a thousand miles ahead.

  102. 1955: 

    In the France dressing room, all the players are on their feet, getting ready to enter the tunnel. On the pitch, the historic trophy awaits both teams.

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "Morgan Escare is crucial for France but it is also a big night for his opposite full-back Sam Tomkins. All of the Wigan shape and the England shape is designed to get him into space."

  104. 1953: 

    England have returned to the dressing room, the players listen to coach Steve McNamara, who sits alone on a chair in front of them. McNamara has his notes in front of him, giving it some good pointing as he dishes out the last-minute instructions.

  105. 1949: 

    Rule Britannia being played inside the DW Stadium. Rousing stuff, warming up a chilly night. Now we're into Land of Hope and Glory, sung by a children's choir. Flags wave in the crowd. If this isn't getting you going, you might want to check your pulse.

  106. 1946: 

    England coach Steve McNamara on BBC Two: "We've just made a couple of tweaks. Chris Hill was outstanding last week and we have the luxury of players who can play in a variety of positions. France have some very good players. We know all about the Catalan Dragons and how well they have done and we are very wary of them."

    BBC Radio 5 live

    England scrum-half Rob Burrow, who is not involved tonight: "Obviously you want to be involved for England but I understand it is a great squad and some people have to miss out.

    "I was told on Wednesday and it goes around the players so you have plenty of time to take the news in. You still need to support the lads and have a major part to play."

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcrl
    England players

    Andrew Gibbons: The important rugby game today for England!! There is something on this one!

  109. 1941: 

    James Graham has a ball in his hand, he gives Jon Wilkin the eye. I suspect the BBC Two broadcast could be interrupted by a stray kick at any moment.

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

    "New Zealand have been building throughout the tournament but what we saw last night is moments of brilliance and the forward pack were explosive. All their talent is coming together and they are starting to believe in themselves as they build up for the semi-final at Wembley."

  111. 1938: 

    New Zealand also had a minor injury scare of their own while they were putting Kiwi tyre tracks over Scotland last night.

    Dual-code star Sonny Bill Williams was substituted with a neck injury, but coach Stephen Kearney said that was merely a precaution.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "Plenty of talk in the press box at Wigan about the injury suffered by Australia full-back Billy Slater earlier today. There is a lot of speculation that his tournament is over - and even more than the Kangaroos will be even stronger slotting Greg Inglis into that position. What with his activities outside a Manchester bar earlier this week, it has not been the best few days for Melbourne Storm's Slater."

  113. 1935: 

    Though Australia had it all their own way against the US earlier today, the Kangaroos will be concerned by a new injury suffered by Billy Slater. The full-back is due to have a scan and looks likely to miss the semi-final next week.

    Do the Aussies have cover at full-back? Just some fella called Greg Inglis.

    Billy Slater is helped off the field

    MARK MITCHELL: Scotland and USA need to kick on from today. Superb foundations set at RLWC 2013. Don't waste a day taking rugby league forward in both places

    Jason Sutton: Scotland can take heart saying they scored a try against New Zealand but they done a lot of good things this year and it is just the start, well done

  115. 1930: 
    England players

    Shots of the England dressing room showed James Graham putting a small green bag, possibly a heat sack, on the small of his back. When the England players emerge to warm-up, Graham has a grin on his face. Apparently, he wants to kick a ball at BBC expert Jon Wilkin.

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "If you look at the France squad they have a mainstay of Catalan [Dragons] players, but away from that the players who come in are from the part-time leagues. So you shouldn't be surprised at some of the results they suffer.

    "But they do like to play well against England and I think they will start well. But they haven't got the quality or physical size to match England. England will go on, play well and may win by 30 or 40 points."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "It is not ideal for France, who have had two days less rest. I got a little nervous looking at this line-up for France, they are going to be very ready today. They have some cracking players, they haven't played well but it might happen tonight. I just hope England play well."

  118. 1927: 

    England centre Kallum Watkins: "I watched France against Samoa - it was brutal! It was a really tough game.

    "France have not performed as well as they should have done. They managed to get the win against Papua New Guinea but they have not performed as well as they would have wanted to do in the last two games.

    "But they are through and will be up for it. We played them in the autumn series last year and they were a tough, physical side who can match you on their day."

  119. 1925: 

    As for France, they squeezed into the last four by the narrowest possible margin - although we didn't know it at the time.

    With both France and Papua New Guinea going on to lose to New Zealand and Samoa, it was their opening group game that would prove decisive.

    France edged it 9-8, an unconvincing display that followed a warm-up defeat by the United States.

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

    "I think there will be a decent forward battle for the first 20/25 minutes. That's the area that France will feel they are the strongest in.

    "I do feel there is a mismatch in the halves - Thomas Bosc and William Barthaeu offer little compared to Kevin Sinfield and Rangi Chase.

    "I wondered how effective that partnership would be in the lead up to this tournament, because there was a big question mark over how Chase - despite his individual prowess - would fit into a more structured style of rugby league at international level. But he has proven everyone wrong - that partnership has worked well.

    "When you have a good set of forwards - which England have - they will get on top of France and the halves battle will be won by Sinfield and Chase."

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "The question with England now is all around intensity. We have seen them play for 20 or 30-minute periods - now they need to extend that.

    "The good thing is England have people battling for positions. There is a thriving intensity and I like the mix of the England squad.

    "All of Steve McNamara's main players are fit, everything is going for England. They have got momentum - it is just about belief now."

  122. 1920: 

    England's path to the last eight has been largely how we expected it to be.

    A battling defeat by Australia was followed by tough, but ultimately comfortable, wins over Ireland and Fiji.

    The common denominator in those three games has been England's tendency to produce their best in 20-minute bursts, one in each of the trio.

    Will tonight be the night they can do it for the full 80? If not now, how can they produce their best against the Kiwis and the Kangaroos?

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcrl

    Corinne Stott: Gutted I'm not in Wigan tonight for the England match. Smash it boys

  124. 1917: 

    And while you're texting, tweeting and not sending pigeons, you're probably wanting to know how to follow the match.

    On top of this entertaining and informative text commentary, you can watch live on BBC Two and listen on Radio 5 live.

    You can watch and listen here on the BBC Sport website too, while our shiny app now includes radio streaming. Technology, eh? The things they can do.

    And if you can't wait for our lovely broadcast colleagues to go live at 1930, there's build-up on the Red Button right now.

  125. 1914: 

    So, we know what's at stake and we know the men heading into battle. What's left is for me to remind you how to get involved.

    Two usual ways, text on 81111 or tweet using the hashtag #bbcrl. We've experimented with carrier pigeons, but they tend to make a mess of my keyboard.

    We're also on Facebook and Instagram, so tuck in.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at the DW Stadium

    "A chilly evening in Wigan but nonetheless fans were outside the DW Stadium hours before kick-off, arguably to beat the snaking traffic queues but also in anticipation of an England victory. It will be another farewell of sorts tonight, with Sam Tomkins set to play his last game for some time at the home of his former club, and I spotted several cherry and white shirts bearing his name as I made my way to the stadium."

    Sam Tomkins
  127. 1910: 

    England: Tomkins, Charnley, Watkins, Cudjoe, Hall, Chase, Sinfield, Graham, McIlorum, Hill, Burgess, Westwood, O'Loughlin. Replacements: Roby, Ferres, Burgess, Farrell.

    France: Escare, Cardace, Baile, Duport, Greenshields, Bosc, Barthau, Fakir, Bentley, Casty, Elima, Raguin, Mounis. Replacements: Pellissier, Khattabi, Maria, Simon.

  128. 1909: 

    England make two changes to the side that overpowered Fiji last week.

    Josh Charnley and Chris Hill start, with Brett Ferres dropping to the bench. Rob Burrow misses out completely as James Roby sits amongst the replacements.

  129. 1906: 

    On paper, England should have few problems in brushing aside France to book a semi-final with defending champions New Zealand at Wembley next week.

    But we're not playing on paper, we're playing in Wigan, and this England side has the humiliation of a warm-up defeat by little Italy fresh in the memory.

    For the hosts of this Rugby League World Cup party, defeat is unlikely, but also unthinkable.

  130. 1903: 

    While the funky format of the group stage gave the rugby league world's lesser lights the chance to shine on the biggest stage, the quarter-finals are where the top dogs will look to get serious.

    Scotland were hit by a New Zealand bulldozer on Friday, while the United States fairytale was snuffed out by those Grinchy Australians earlier today.

    Now, it's England's turn.

  131. 1900: 

    Yes, yes, the Rugby League World Cup has been lovely and all that.

    Minnows causing shocks? Check. Good crowds spreading the 13-man word? Check. Bruising encounters and touching moments? Check. The big boys looking the part? Check.

    But the niceties are over. We're at the business end.

    England and Fiji

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