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02nd Dec 2017

WATCH: Incredible Josh Dugan ankle tap helps deny England’s World Cup dream

What might have been...

Simon Lloyd

It’s the hope that kills you.

Australia retained the Paul Barrière trophy, defeating England 6-0 in the World Cup final in Brisbane on Saturday.

The English team produced a resilient display in Suncorp Stadium, but ultimately came up agonisingly short in their first World Cup final in 22 years as they failed to find a response to Boyd Cordner’s first half try.

Had it not been for a last-ditch tap-tackle from Josh Dugan on Kallum Watkins, it might well have been a different story. Having split the Aussie line, it seemed Watkins was away.

It wasn’t to be. A desperate dive from Dugan saw him stretch out an arm and tap Watkins’ left ankle, enough to send him tumbling to the deck. It felt like a defining moment; it probably was a defining moment.

Sam Tomkins, part of the BBC team covering the final, was one of many to highlight its significance.

“The semi final against the Kiwis in 2013 with the Shaun Johnson try haunted us for four years going into this World Cup,” he said.

“This one with the Josh Dugan ankle tap will be the image for the next four years but it’s a fair effort to dive and make that tackle.”