Friday 15 December 2017 / 03:26 PM

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: KIWIS STUN ‘ROOS TO WIN ’08 WORLD CUP

Leading up to Saturday’s showdown between Australia and England at Suncorp Stadium, we’re reliving the classic Rugby League World Cup finals of the past 30 years – and the Kangaroos will be hell-bent on avoiding a repeat of the only final they’ve hosted in the past 40 years.

Red-hot favourites to retain the World Cup in the Suncorp Stadium decider against New Zealand in 2008, Australia raced out to a 10-0 lead before being reeled in by the plucky Kiwis.

Australia led 16-12 at halftime after man-of-the-match Darren Lockyer’s second try, but New Zealand secured one of the all-time great international upsets in an extraordinary second half.

A now-infamous Billy Slater howler handed Kiwi five-eighth Benji Marshall a crucial four-pointer before a penalty try to fullback Lance Hohaia extended the underdogs’ advantage.

Following Adam Blair’s match-sealer, New Zealand finished the euphoric triumph – its maiden World Cup success – as 34-20 victors over the shell-shocked Kangaroos, who had not lost a World Cup tournament since 1972.

Former Australian coach Wayne Bennett celebrated on the field with the Kiwis, having acted as young mentor Stephen Kearney’s assistant throughout the year; meanwhile, Bennett’s Kangaroos successor, Ricky Stuart, was sacked from his post after abusing referee Ashley Klein in the team hotel after the shock defeat.

[YouTube – joeydudester]

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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