Sam Tomkins of England is tackled by Jonathan Thurston of Australia during the Four Nations match between England and Australia at Wembley Stadium on November 5, 2011 in London

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Gillette Four Nations Rugby League

5 Nov 2011 - 1:00 PM

Kiwis and Aussies enjoy Wembley wins

International Rugby League returned to Wembley today for the first time since 1997 when the second round of fixtures in the 2011 Gillette Four Nations series took place at the national stadium.

The crowd of more than 35,000 were treated to a double header of international rugby league games and first up was current Four Nations and world champions New Zealand taking on Wales who were making their Four Nations debut in the tournament.

Earlier in the day, the Wembley Superfan Jeremy Doyle took the brave step of standing in front of the New Zealand team as they performed the Haka and it looks like the Kiwi team’s traditional intimidation of their opponents worked its magic when despite a brave and gallant effort, Wales were thrashed 0 – 36.

After losing to Australia in the earlier stages of the tournament, New Zealand wanted a big win and that’s exactly what they got after they put a total of seven tries past the Wales line. Tries were claimed by Sika Manu and Gerard Beale (two each) and Kevin Locke, Nathan Fien and Jason Nightingale. Wales played a gutsy game and did well to keep New Zealand at just two tries in the second half but ultimately it just wasn’t their day against what was a far superior Kiwi side.

Next up was round two and England’s turn against tournament favourites Australia. England were looking for their first win over the Aussies since the opening game of the 1995 World Cup and were chasing Australia throughout the match trailing 8 – 12 at half time. There was an expectation all around the stadium that they might just make an almighty comeback but unfortunately for them and fortunately for the thousands of Australia fans who had made the trip to Wembley, it wasn’t to be and the final score was England 20 - 36 Australia after an enthralling match.

After the Wembley showcases, the final week of group fixtures will see New Zealand travel to Hull to play England at the KC Stadium on Saturday 12 November 12 with Australia making the trip to the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham to face Wales on Sunday 13 November. The final of the tournament will then be played at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 19 November.

The RFL used the occasion to announce a shortlist of Rugby League legends proposed for a new Wembley statue. Fans are being encouraged to vote for who should be honoured with a statue at Wembley to stand alongside Bobby Moore to celebrate Rugby League’s long and colourful association with the national stadium.

The 10-strong long list, which is by no means definitive, features some of the sport’s greatest stars, all of whom have their own unique link with Wembley, a stadium which has played host to countless memories for millions of Rugby League supporters.

“I’m sure everyone who has ever attended a Rugby League match at Wembley, including the thousands at the stadium for the double header, will have their own opinion on who should represent the sport at this evocative venue,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.

“We want to hear the views of as many people as possible because it is important the whole Rugby League family, from fans and players to coaches and administrators, are consulted over this special venture.”

Those listed by The RFL are:

• Billy Boston

• Jonathan Davies

• Shaun Edwards

• Don Fox

• Neil Fox

• Ellery Hanley

• Alex Murphy

• Martin Offiah

• Clive Sullivan

• Lance Todd

To vote for any of the 10 players on the list or to submit any other suggestions fans should visit www.therfl.co.uk.

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