Australia coach Mal Meninga accuses England ahead of World Cup final over illegal rucks
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/12/17 6:53pm
Australia coach Mal Meninga has hit back at an accusation from Wayne Bennett that the Kangaroos are using illegal tactics to slow the ruck ahead of Saturday's World Cup final.
England head coach Bennett told the Brisbane Courier-Mail he had shown examples to World Cup referees chief Tony Archer of Australia using a third defender to slow the play-the-ball by using spoiling tactics.
In response, Meninga has produced several enlarged photographs from last week's semi-final against Tonga and one from England's training session on Wednesday which he claimed showed England players holding down opponents in the tackle.
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"You've got to slow the ruck down, that's the game of rugby league," Meninga said. "If you win the ruck, then you've got a great chance of being successful. It's a pretty simple game.
"I've just showed examples of England doing exactly the same thing.
"We're here to play footy. We've got no issues about the referee. It's not about the referee, it's about us preparing really well and doing the best we possibly can."
The row is the latest in a series of clashes between the Queensland coaching greats and came as no surprise to Meninga or his captain, Cameron Smith.
"I'm not overly shocked by that," Smith said. "I think before every big game that I've played in and Wayne has been the opposition coach, something has found its way into the media."
Meninga, who beat Bennett to the Kangaroos job two years ago, added: "It's to be expected. It's part of the banter of such a big game, just little mind games.
"It's part of the theatre of big games in particular. It's the drama of a World Cup final and, if Wayne feels the need to add to it all, I'm happy to return serve.
"But mind games are about 20 years old. We don't want to make it about me and Wayne, it's about the two teams.
"We've got 80 minutes of tough rugby league and against a really committed England side who will be well prepared by Wayne. It should be entertaining."