Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga responds to Wayne Bennett's illegal ruck claims




Mal Meninga has responded to Wayne Bennett's claim that Australia are using illegal tactics to slow the ruck ahead of tomorrow night's Rugby League World Cup final by providing pictures of England doing the same thing.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga speaks with Cameron Smith and Sam Thaiday.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga speaks with Cameron Smith and Sam Thaiday.

Source: Getty

Meninga laughed off the fact Bennett had given News Corp 26 examples of the Kangaroos using a third defender to slow the ruck by using spoiling tactics.

Meninga then produced for TV cameras seven images of three England players in the ruck during their semi-final win over Tonga and at Wednesday's training session.

"I might show you some pictures. It happens every week in the NRL - it's just a bit of mind games," said Meninga.

"It's part of the theatre of big games. They want to win, we want to win - it all adds to the drama of a Rugby League World Cup final."

Bennett reportedly fell out with Meninga after missing out on the Kangaroos coaching gig in 2015.

England head coach Wayne Bennett during a captain's run.

Source: Photosport

But asked if the Cup final was personal, Meninga said: "No, it's all fun. It's all good.

"We don't want to make it about me and Wayne.

"Banter is good and if Wayne feels he needs to add to it I am happy to return serve."

Meninga was unapologetic about his ruck tactics.

"You have to slow the ruck down. That's the game of rugby league," he said.

Billy Slater.
RLWC 2017. Australia Kangaroos v England. Rugby League World Cup. Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne Australia. Friday 27 October 2017. © www.photosport.nz

Kangaroos fullback Billy Slater.

Source: Photosport

"If you win the ruck then you are a great chance of being successful - it's a pretty simple game.

Asked if he expected referees boss Tony Archer to speak with him before the game, Meninga said: "Not really.

"It's in the paper today and I am pretty sure Tony would have rung me if there were issues."

Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith said he wasn't surprised the wily Bennett had come out with the match eve claims.

"I'm not overly shocked by that," he said.

"I think every big game that I've played in when Wayne's been the opposition coach, something's found it's way into the media."

Australia will be vying to claim their 11th Cup triumph but first on home soil in 40 years.

England will appear in their first Cup final since 1995.

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