Kangaroos looking for fourth straight shutout in World Cup semi final

21 November 2013 10:03 PM

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Kangaroos looking for fourth straight shutout in World Cup semi final

Kangaroos centre Michael Jennings has been frustrated by a lack of game time at the Rugby League World Cup and is hopeful of adding to his one game in the round-robin phase against Fiji on Saturday.

The Kangaroos will achieve a feat no Australian side has managed in more than 30 years if their impressive defensive shut-out continues against Fiji.

Tim Sheens' tournament favourites head into Saturday's World Cup semi-final having not conceded a try in three straight matches - more than four hours of rugby league.

Josh Charnley's try in the 76th minute of Australia's tournament-opening 28-20 win over England is the last they let in, with a sole penalty goal the only two points conceded in big wins over Fiji, Ireland and the United States.

Australia also went three games without conceding a try at the 2000 World Cup but the last Kangaroos side to keep a clean sheet of tries for four consecutive Tests was a Max Krilich-captained outfit which managed six straight from 1981 to 1982.

The Kangaroos are in London to prepare for their World Cup semi-final against Fiji with Billy Slater's knee injury Tim Sheen's main concern. While Jarryd Hayne has hit back at critics of the Rugby League World Cup.

Enforcer Paul Gallen, who has led the way in both defence an attack for Australia, said the side's fierce defensive mentality was a result of a focus on not wanting to switch off against lower-ranked opposition.

"Some of the teams we've run into, with all due respect, probably weren't going to give us too much competition and it's something we spoke about - not relaxing at all," the Kangaroos vice captain said.

"We wanted to go on with the job in both halves and and not let in any tries and really concentrate."

While Australia's attack was a feature of last week's twelve-try 62-0 quarter-final win over the United States, Gallen said defence would be the key to reclaiming the World Cup trophy from New Zealand.

"That's what's going to win it for us come this week (semi-finals) and hopefully the week after," Gallen said.

Veteran prop Matt Scott said conceding some soft four-pointers against England in Cardiff last month prompted a team discussion about not wanting to concede "easy points".

"We've got a really good attacking side but defensively we needed to be better.

Source: heraldsun.com.au

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