Ruthless England overwhelm Greece as Dom Young bags four in 17-try rout

England’s World Cup has gone so seamlessly to plan that you felt some observers expected, rather than hoped, for a scoreline as convincing as this. That is with no disrespect intended to debutants Greece, whose side is predominantly part-time and were always likely to be well-beaten.

But given how England have caught the eye in their opening two group games, and that Australia did something similar to Scotland, you felt the minimum expectation was to put down a statement.

How they did that: setting more English records than the points they conceded on a wet afternoon in Sheffield to set up a probable quarter-final against Papua New Guinea in Wigan next Saturday.

Even with the visible gulf in class here, the list of team and individual records set is eye-catching. It was England’s biggest World Cup victory, surpassing the 76-4 win against Russia in 2000 by some distance. Only Australia’s 110-4 against Russia in the same year is bigger.

There were 17 England tries, four of them to the sensational winger, Dom Young.

That made it eight in three Tests and his reputation enhanced at pace once again. The 21-year-old is one of the standout talents in the tournament, but he was ably supported by his teammates, with 11 of the side scoring at least once.

Greece, however, deserve credit for giving England an early scare before the onslaught began. Young and Matty Lees had crossed to make it 10-0 before Sitemi Taukamo stunned the hosts with a try and produce a roaring cheer from the hardy band of Greece supporters.

“It’s job done,” Shane Wane, the England coach, said. “It was an awkward fixture and fair play to Greece, they’ve turned up and didn’t give in until the end. We did a lot of good things but it’ll be a different challenge next week.”

England scored six tries in a blistering 20-minute spell after Taukamo’s shock score to move 44-6 ahead by the break. Young scored three of them, while Ryan Hall, Tom Burgess and the ever-impressive George Williams also crossed for tries.

The second half was just as devastating with another 50 points and yet more records being set.

Rugby league was illegal in Greece as recently as five years ago, making the fact they are competing in the World Cup a remarkable feat in itself. They were always going to have a chastening experience against teams as strong as this on their debut, but they can now plan for a brighter future.

But they were dispatched emphatically. The scoring resumed three minutes after the restart when Tommy Makinson seized on a loose ball to touch down. Marc Sneyd added his name to the increasingly long scoring list and by full-time he had set a record for most points scored in a Test by an Englishman with 13 successful kicks giving him 30 of England’s 94 points.

Burgess and Hall – his 39th in 40 appearances for his country, second only to Australia’s Billy Slater in the all-time international list –claimed their second tries before the hour mark with Greece’s defence visibly tired and being cut open at will almost every time England touched the ball.

Andy Ackers’s try in the 68th minute brought up the record-winning margin in a World Cup game, making it 78-4.

Kai Pearce-Paul, Joe Batchelor and Mike McMeeken also scored in the final quarter as England refused to take their foot off the gas. With so many impressive individual performances it was difficult not to cast an eye towards thinking about the side Wane will settle on to face Papua New Guinea.

It has been fun, but the real business starts now.