PA Ireland's Louis Senior (centre) celebrates.
# Black Night
Ireland are outclassed by New Zealand in the Rugby League World Cup
Ireland scored one try through Louis Senior but were up against one of the favourites for the tournament.



IT WAS A TOUGH night for Ireland New Zealand brushed them aside 48-10 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup as Group C winners.

The Kiwis had already notched up pool victories over Lebanon (34-12) and Jamaica (68-6) and will now play the runners-up of Group B, likely to be Fiji, in the last eight in Hull on November 5.

“It was good to be back out, this is my first World Cup game ever,” Hughes told BBC.

“It was good to get a win over a strong Ireland team.

“We were a bit clunky at times. We really need to fix that up before the finals. Whoever we play next week we need to be better otherwise we will be in trouble. We’re not too far off our best. Once we get our combinations right we’ll be fine.”

Hughes side-stepped his way over for a fine early individual try and the Melbourne Storm half-back was the driving force behind an attacking Kiwi performance that thrived off a tough defence that smothered the Irish side.

Ireland scored one try after Louis Senior intercepted, Ed Chamberlain having actually gifted the team a short-lived lead with an opening penalty.

new-zealand-v-ireland-rugby-league-world-cup-group-c-headingley-stadium PA Ireland's Joshua Cook and Brandon Smith. PA

But it was all New Zealand after that, Peta Hiku and Jordan Rapana both bagging two tries apiece at Leeds. Ronaldo Mulitalo also crossed as the Kiwis finished the first-half 24-6 up.

James Fisher-Harris went over for the 2008 world champions in the second period, followed by Hughes, stepping off his right foot and driving through two defenders for his second try of the match, and Kenny Bromwich.

Senior claimed his second of the match, and sixth in three games in the tournament, after following up on a scything Richie Myler kick and forcing Mulitalo into a mistake over his own tryline, pouncing on the ball as it came clear of the Kiwi winger’s grasp.

Joseph Manu had the final word for the Kiwis, however, skipping through a battle-weary Irish defence for a well-taken try.

Lebanon play Jamaica in final game of Group C on Sunday and the Michael Cheika-coached Cedars will qualify as runners-up if they avoid defeat.

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