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Match report: Poland ease past Vanuatu into trophy final

Luke Jobson
Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds

Poland comfortably defeated Vanuatu 44-4 in the second ENWC trophy semi-final at Cabramatta on Wednesday, to set up a clash with Philippines in Saturday’s final.

Vanuatu went into the match desperate to pick up their first win of the tournament, while Poland were undefeated.

Both teams enjoyed good opening sets, but Poland were first to get points on the board. Harry Siejka and Ethan Niszczcot combined dangerously to send Alex Kowalski through a gaping hole to cross the line with just five minutes gone. The conversion from Ethan Niszczcot was unsuccessful.
A huge swirling bomb from Siejka earned Poland a repeat set, and they capitalised with their second try of the afternoon. Jonah Metuangaro sent Chippie Korostchuk a flat ball, and Korostchuk bust through two tackles to drag defenders over and score for Poland. Niszczcot converted to give Poland a 10-0 lead after 14 minutes.
Niszczcot then added his own name to the try scorers’ list with some fantastic footwork. He bamboozled Vanuatu, leaving one defender on his backside and bouncing through another would-be tackle to score on the right edge. Niszczot converted his try to make it 16-0 with 20 minutes gone.
Vanuatu had a chance to get on the board, but some beautiful goal line and cover defence from Poland kept a clean sheet. Instead, Poland picked up their fourth try thanks to a darting run from Arek Werstak out of dummy half, bouncing out of contact and breaking out of some poor defence by Vanuatu to go over to the right of the posts. Niszczot made no mistake with the conversion, extending the lead to 22-0 at half-time.
Vanuatu came out fired-up for the second half, huge drives in their first set followed by crunching dominant tackles in their first defensive set, restricting Poland to their 20-metre zone.
Their efforts were rewarded when James Wood put boot to ball on a refreshed tackle count and Amani Arutahiki, alert to Woods’ ideas, raced through to ground the ball in the left corner for Vanuatu’s first try of the afternoon. The kick dragged to the left of the posts but Vanuatu were at least on the board at 22-4.
However, one try was as good as it got for Vanuatu. Instead, Poland added to their growing list of scorers with 28 minutes to play, Siejka showing the ball to the Vanuatu line before dummying and slipping through a gap to extend Poland’s lead.
It was back-to-back tries for Poland when Korostchuk made a huge break down the left edge from inside his own 30-metre zone, slinging the ball back on the inside for Metuangaro to slide over out towards the left. Siejka landed the kick to take Poland to a 32-4 lead.
Vanuatu still refused to lie down, fearlessly trundling the ball up the middle of the park and propelling themselves into contact, with Poland chipping away at the metres tackle by tackle.
Try as they may Vanuatu struggled to break down a well-drilled Poland side. Even when Alex Philip intercepted a stray Polish ball on his own goal line and sped away, he was dragged down on the halfway line .
The tries were coming thick and fast for Poland, a high kick to the left of the posts spilled by the fullback for Metuangaro to collect and dive over, converting his own try for a 38-4 lead.
And there was one more to come from a goal-line drop out, Korostchuk steamrollering men for fun and finding his way to the line. Siejka added the extras, bringing the final score to 44-4.
Poland: 44
Tries – Alex Kowalski, Chippie Korostchuk (2), Ethan Niszczcot, Arek Werstak, Harry Siejka, Jonah Metuangaro (2),
Goals – Ethan Niszczcot (3), Jonah Metuangaro (1), Harry Siejka (2)
Vanuatu: 4
Tries – Amani Arutahiki