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Lebanon 10-29 England: McGillvary bite dampens English win

Jermaine McGillvary scored the second of England's five tries against Lebanon The England wing ..



  • Jermaine McGillvary scored the second of England's five tries against Lebanon
  • The England wing has been dragged into the spotlight after biting accusations
  • Ben Currie also got onto the scoresheet with his first international try

By Mike Keegan For The Mailonline

Published: 07:21 EDT, 4 November 2017 | Updated: 07:24 EDT, 4 November 2017

With cool temperatures, light drizzle and an advertisement for chips and gravy superimposed on the pitch, it looked like northern England.

And in familiar conditions at the Sydney Football Stadium, Wayne Bennett's men certainly made themselves feel at home in a first half in which they ran in four tries.

However, after a meandering, frustrating second stanza, which saw them split two tries with minnows Lebanon, a sense of frustration lingers.

Ryan Hall touches down for England to extend their lead of Lebanon on Friday in Australia

Ryan Hall touches down for England to extend their lead of Lebanon on Friday in Australia

Hall one of five try scorers for Wayne Bennett's side as they secure their first World Cup winHall one of five try scorers for Wayne Bennett's side as they secure their first World Cup win

Hall one of five try scorers for Wayne Bennett's side as they secure their first World Cup win

There was also a big potential negative – with an allegation of biting against Jermaine McGillvary placed on report.

The Huddersfield winger has been arguably England's player of the tournament so far but if he is found guilty of nipping the arm of Cedars captain Robbie Farah he will face the consequences.

On Friday, hosts and favourites Australia put 54 points on France while earlier on Saturday New Zealand, who England are most likely to face should they get to the semi-finals, stuck 74 on Scotland.

Lebanese Nick Kassis answered England's first try to level the score after 18 minutes inLebanese Nick Kassis answered England's first try to level the score after 18 minutes in

Lebanese Nick Kassis answered England's first try to level the score after 18 minutes in

The fact that Bennett's side could only land 29 on Lebanon speaks volumes about the work that lies ahead. A win, as they say, is a win, but this was not pretty. It started well. After an opening nine minutes spent almost exclusively in Lebanon's half, thanks to some strong running and helpful decision-making for English referee Ben Thaler, Kallum Watkins strolled in at the corner for the opening try.

Bennett had called on his men to cut out the silly mistakes. But it appeared as though they were not listening. A forward pass, followed by a stupid penalty for ripping the ball out in a two-man tackle, put Lebanon down the field.

Then, a botched attempt at grabbing a straightforward Robbie Farah kick through by Gareth Widdop giftwrapped a try for Nick Kassis. A self-inflicted punch in the face.

England went back in front thanks to another break down the right, instigated by Luke Gale and finished by McGillvary while on the other side of the field, Ryan Hall was perhaps fortunate to get away with what looked like a knock-on when diving over the line, much to the annoyance of the locals.

Regardless, after Widdop missed his first conversion of the evening, England were 16-6 up.

Some smart thinking at dummy half from Josh Hodgson set up Ben Currie for a first international try on his second appearance, with Widdop nailing the extras.

Almost immediately after the break came the flashpoint between McGillvary and Farah. After the England man was tackled, the handbags were out and slaps were traded, with Farah claiming he had been bitten. Replays suggested he may have had a case.

With injured brother Sam, who hopes to be back after picking up a knee injury last week, watching on in the stands Tom Burgess thundered over on 55 minutes after collecting a neat short pass from James Graham.

That effectively killed the tie as a contest, which was just as well as Lebanon's Jason Wehbe scored the only other try before Widdop dinked a drop goal as time expired.

Aside from England, there are also questions for tournament organisers. A community of around 200,000 Lebanese live in the suburbs of Sydney and a noisy following, along with an impressive travelling contingent from England, created a half decent atmosphere.

However, swathes of empty blue plastic seats and an attendance of 10,237 once again raised questions over planning. A lack of marketing for the competition has been criticised but the decision to play this match at a stadium with a capacity of 44,000 was baffling.

Sydney is blessed with wonderful, historic and smaller venues which would have made this much more of a spectacle. Plenty to think about for all concerned.

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Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms




The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

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Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official




Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection




The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

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