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Earlier today the Ashes kicked off – arguably Australia’s biggest sporting rivalry with England. But it’s not the only world sport that the two nations do battle in today. No! There’s also the Rugby League World Cup Final. Australia have coasted through the tournament, whereas England were lucky to escape Tonga in their semi-final last weekend. It all comes down to just one more match tonight. Here’s where you can watch the World Cup Final live, online and free.
This World Cup hasn’t been about winning. It hasn’t been about technical excellence, or flawless completion rates, or pinpoint kicking tactics. No, those things haven’t mattered at all. Instead, this World Cup has been about culture and the harmonious joy that only a sport like rugby league can provide. About the little guys: Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Lebanon. The underdogs who, despite perhaps lacking the class of Australia, more than made up for it in heart and raw tenacity.
The England assistant coach is the last player to captain an England side in a World Cup final. His 1995 England team was a star-studded line-up including Andy Farrell and Jason Robinson which was beaten 16-8 by Australia at Wembley. This time, Betts wants no regrets. He said: “One thing I have learned from my past experience is getting to World Cup finals is not good enough because nobody ever remembers. “There are no second chances – I know for a fact myself. You cannot sit there for 22 years thinking I wish I’d played better.”
Four years later, it’s those same also-rans that have provided us with the moments of the World Cup that captured our hearts and attention. More than that, they’ve reminded us what rugby league is really all about. It’s about mateship, unity and inclusion. About getting back up when you’re knocked down and celebrating the underdog. The scoreboard doesn’t matter: every game is an achievement to be celebrated. And so, with that in mind, it doesn’t matter who wins the final. It’ll be an enthralling match no doubt, but the outcome is irrelevant to the real result of this World Cup. Because thanks to the little guys, rugby league is truly the real winner.