Our composure won us the World Cup final says England star Rob Hawkins

ENGLAND’S “cool heads” made the difference in winning a gripping World Cup final, according to Rob Hawkins.

The hosts edged out defending champions France 28-24 at a packed Manchester Central thanks to a late try from captain Tom Halliwell.

The match was a dramatic one throughout with a number of twists and turns, as both sides held eight-point leads before France fought back to level heading into the closing stages.

In the previous World Cup in 2017 it was France who scored late to win the final and break English hearts, but the roles were reversed this time as England found the winning moment when it mattered.

“We just kept our cool heads,” said Hawkins of the difference between the sides. 

“Even if decisions might not have gone the way we wanted, we kept our composure and that’s all that matters.”

England and France have been fierce rivals on the court for years and although Hawkins was not part of the 2017 squad, he was motivated by a series defeat to the French last autumn.

“Last November we had a Test series against them, we lost them and we’re happy we lost them, because it meant we could be here right now winning the World Cup Final,” he said.

“I would much rather lose a Test match to France if it meant I won a World Cup Final.”

Halifax Panthers star Hawkins was one of several England players in tears at the end of the match.

He said: “We’ve worked for this for four or five years, a lot of us. Getting that result was massively emotional.

“Especially with these boys, it’s a massive brotherhood, a massive family. To celebrate that, the scenes at the end I’ll definitely go and watch that back. 

“We were all celebrating after the final whistle and it can’t feel any better.”