Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

North Should Be Home from Home ; World Cup England 60 Uruguay 3

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

North Should Be Home from Home ; World Cup England 60 Uruguay 3

Article excerpt

MA N C H E S T E R ' S Rugby World Cup experience may have ended almost before it began but if England's players have anything to do with it, the city should now become a regular Red Rose pit-stop to help fix the broken Sweet Chariot.

There was almost a perfect symmetry in England's doomed 2015 campaign coinciding with our city's one brief outing in the global spotlight.

While the rest of England (and Cardiff!) has been busy making merry at what is already shaping up to be a classic World Cup, Manchester - a city synonymous like no other on these shores with sporting excellence - had been left forgotten, forlornly drifting among the rugby tumbleweed.

And when Manchester's turn did finally come as they were rolled out as England 2015's final host city - it was for the most meaningless fixture in the country's history following the Red Rose's premature ejection from their own party. Little wonder then that Saturday night's assignment with Group A whipping boys Uruguay had all the portents of a funeral with many punters desperately seeking to off-load tickets at bargain bucket prices in the buildup and England's players fretting on what reception they would be afforded following those shattering back-to-back defeats against Wales and Australia.

They needn't have worried.

Despite the rival attraction of Super League's Grand Final just a few miles down the road at Old Trafford, more than 50,000 fans flocked to the Etihad Stadium and lapped up the ten-try demolition job on the South Americans as they gave England a raucous send-off that, in truth, they didn't deserve.

The contest itself was almost an irrelevance though hat-trick heroes Nick Easter and Jack Nowell made hay as did two-try winger Anthony Watson, whilst Henry Slade's wonderful solo effort merely exposed the folly of his exclusion prior to Saturday.

Indeed, such was the frenzy afforded the players as they took a final lap of honour, it was as if a collective time warp had erased the nightmare of the previous fortnight. …

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