RYAN HALL is happy to hand over the unofficial title of the world’s best winger to his England team-mate after Jermaine McGillvary continued his World Cup romp.
Hall is England’s all-time record try-scorer and he took his phenomenal tally to 34 in 35 Tests with the final try in Sunday’s 36-6 quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium.
However, he was overshadowed once more by his Huddersfield rival, who scored his sixth try in four matches at the World Cup to take his tally to 11 in just 10 appearances and help England set up a semi-final meeting with Tonga in Auckland on Saturday.
“If he plays like that every week, he can have it,” Hall said of the title created by the Leeds media department.
“If I’m overshadowed by a performance like that, I will take that every day of the week. He’s been brilliant all series has Jerry.”
Against the Kumuls, McGillvary also provided two try assists for his centre Kallum Watkins and, even more impressively, ran for 213 metres and produced 12 tackle busts and five clean breaks.
With 747 metres in the tournament so far, McGillvary is way ahead of Tonga’s star forward Jason Taumalolo on 659 and New Zealand’s attacking full-back Roger Tiivasa-Sheck on 626, and has put the likes of Fiji’s Suni Vunivalu and the Kangaroos’ Valentine Holmes in the shade.
It has made McGillvary the talk of the tournament, but his performances have come as no surprise to Hall.
“He’s probably not known here as well as he is back home but I’ve played against him quite a few times in Super League and he’s their key man,” Hall said.
“When we do our video, we focus on him quite a lot.”
England flew to Auckland on Monday to prepare for their showdown with Tonga and Leeds-born Hall accepts they will need to improve on areas of their game if they are to reach the December 2 final against Australia or Fiji, who meet in Friday’s first semi-final in Brisbane.
“Obviously we’re very happy to go through to the last four,” Hall said. “It will be an experience playing against Tonga in New Zealand. It will be tough.
“You’ve got to embrace it when you go into hostile environments. They had a great win against the Kiwis two weeks ago.”
England will this week closely monitor the fitness of stand-off Kevin Brown after he was knocked out in a tackle from two Papua New Guinea defenders 25 minutes into Sunday’s game.
The Warrington playmaker played on until half-time after persuading England’s medical staff that he was fine to continue but was withdrawn for the second half after one of the non-playing members of the England squad produced evidence on his phone of the incident which clearly showed Brown had been concussed.
“He copped a bad one,” said Brown’s half-back partner Luke Gale. “He said he was all right but all the players say they’re all right, don’t they?
“He’s just said he’s fine. I’m sure he’ll try and throw his hat in the ring for next week. If not, we’ll have to adapt.”