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England’s nearly men from 1995 Rugby League World Cup hoping for more | Aaron Bower

Twenty-two years on from Australia’s Wembley win, those beaten narrowly that day such as Karl Harrison, Phil Clarke and Mick Cassidy have their fingers crossed for Saturday’s final

When England take to the field in Brisbane on Saturday for their first Rugby League World Cup final in 22 years, there will be a group of men 12,000 miles away willing them to take the step they could not manage in 1995. This weekend it will be Sam Burgess, Sean O’Loughlin and co vying for the first British World Cup win since 1972; then, it was names such as Jason Robinson and Martin Offiah who fell at the final hurdle of the same mission.

As in 1995, the Australians are the opposition in England’s first venture to the final since that day, but the backdrop and circumstances are mightily different. “It was a hugely exciting time for rugby league,” recalls Karl Harrison, the prop who started for Phil Larder’s side at Wembley that day.

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