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Rugby League World Cup : Tonga go down to England 20 - 18 in a controversial finish

England is through to the final of the Rugby League World Cup to play Australia after a crazy win over Tonga.

TONGA'S fairytale run to the semi-final of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was dashed in heartbreaking scenes in one of the most controversial finishes rugby league has witnessed.

Tonga came alive in the final 10 minutes after trailing 20-0 to almost pull-off one of the greatest comebacks in international rugby league. England held on to win 20-18 and will play Australia in the final at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.

World reacts to heartbreaking Tonga decision

Tonga was unfairly robbed of a chance to play in their first Rugby League World Cup final after a controversial call in the dying seconds.

The decision from referee Matt Cecchin to ignore a strip tackle on Andrew Fifita in the final play of the day was the wrong decision, according to livid rugby league commentators.

' Devastation' in crazy, controversial finish

Tonga was robbed of a chance to snatch a fairytale last-gasp try when Andrew Fifita had the ball stripped out of his hands as he was running towards the open try-line.

After failing to score for 72 minutes, Tonga amounted a crazy comeback in the dying minutes to score three tries in five minutes.

They very nearly scored the fourth try they needed to pull off one of the greatest miracle comebacks in rugby league, but Fifita was stripped of the ball 10m from the try-line by English defender Elliot Whitehead.

"Controversy," a Channel 7 commentator said.

"Devastation for Tonga."

Rugby league star Benji Marshall was stunned the referee did not decide to take the Fifita strip decision to the video referee.

"I can't believe it," he said.

Fifita was steaming through a hole in the English defence after trampling a defender before Whitehead dived out and raked the ball from his gasp.

The decision not to send the call up to the video ref sparked angry protests from Tongan players.

Matt Cecchin refused to send the decision up and England is now through to the final.

"That's cost Tonga the final," Aussie rugby league legend Laurie Daley told Channel 7.

Source: Border Post
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