Australia survives early scare against USA at World Cup 9s
AUSTRALIA have survived an early scare against the USA but fellow heavyweights England are at risk of being bundled out of the World Cup nines following a dramatic second morning.
With the Lions beaten 16-13 by Lebanon in one of the day's opening games, Australia fell behind 11-4 to the USA before coming back to win 41-11.
Nathan Brown scored two bonus tries, Kyle Feldt also bagged a double and Josh Addo-Carr was again electrifying on the left wing.
The only concern was a glute injury to Cronulla co-captain Wade Graham that forced him from the field.
The result all but guarantees Australia entry to the semi-finals ahead of their last group match against Papua New Guinea.
It's likely they will face Lebanon in the semis after they pulled off the upset of the weekend without their NRL players who have staged a boycott.
Against an England side full of NRL and Super League talent, twins Reece and Travis Robinson starred, the latter scoring a double.
It means Lebanon will qualify for the finals if they beat Wales on Saturday afternoon, after also upsetting France on Friday night.
That would blow England out of the tournament, the first time they've missed the semi-finals of a World Cup event in any format in their history.
"We probably didn't start well. Some of the tries we let in defensively weren't our best effort. That's where we let ourselves down there," England star Gareth Widdop said.
"They played some good football. We nearly got it at the end there but didn't."
Meanwhile Fiji's finals hopes are over after a golden-try loss to Tonga.
In the first extra-time match of the tournament, Robert Jennings crashed over for the 21-17 win.
The Tongans still need to beat Samoa by 24 points in their last group game to make the finals, after their Pacific rivals beat the Cook Islands 17-4.
New Zealand were close to joining Fiji in going out of the tournament, with only a last-minute Bailey Simmonsen try saving them from a shock loss to Papua New Guinea.
The Kumuls led 17-14 late, before Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad broke down the left and put his Canberra teammate over.
It means the Kiwis will reach the finals alongside Australia out of Pool A if they beat the USA and Australia topple PNG in the last group matches.