Australia win Commonwealth Nines

In an outstanding two days of Rugby League, favourites Australia took all three Gold medals in the Rugby League Commonwealth Championships in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia on Friday and Saturday, writes Ian Golden.

England once again failed to impress and failed to reach the semi-finals for the second tournament in a row, but Wales, who won bronze in 2014, regained a lot of credibility with the Australians after their disastrous World Cup last year. This crop of Welshmen did well against Fiji before sealing a heroic win against the English in a ranking play-off match.

Scotland’s only win in the group stages was against the Welsh in a bruising battle, and the Bravehearts beat them for a second time on day two, that one a closer cleaner clash.

The weather was horrific on day one as it was plagued by constant showers, culminating in a monsoon during England v Papua New Guinea, a game postponed from earlier in the day as the holders only flew in from their native country on the day of the tournament and their plane was delayed.

The conditions, plus a clash with the Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith testimonial match just down the road in Brisbane led to a poor attendance on the Friday, but Saturday was a lot better in regards to both weather and the crowd as a result of that, saving the successfulness of the tournament.

The women’s Gold was predictively won by Australia, but there was little difference between them and sixth place Fiji, such was the competitiveness of all the games.

The Physical Disability tournament was a joy to watch. Some of the players find it difficult to walk in life, let alone run, meaning that there were few tries scored in those games but they weren’t short of entertainment. Australia won that one due to finishing top of the initial group after the final with Australia ended 0-0.

A full report from the Commonwealth Nines Championship will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express