Shaun Johnson rescues Kiwis at the death

18:03, Nov 24 2013
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Sonny Bill Williams makes a charge against Samoa.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Isaac Luke makes a break for New Zealand.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Samoa's Anthony Milford is tackled by Bryson Goodwin, right, and Manu Vatuvei.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Key playmaker Shaun Johnson looks to ignite another Kiwi attack.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson takes a shot at goal during the victory over France.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Kiwis wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck attempts to skip out of a French tackle.
Bryson Goodwin
Bryson Goodwin dives over for a try in the Kiwis' 48-0 rout of France.
Kiwis haka
New Zealand players perform the haka before taking on France.
Kiwis vs France
The French and New Zealand sides line up for the anthems.
Manu Vatuvei
Manu Vatuvei doesn't like being out-done by team mate Sonny Bill Williams.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams dances past would-be Papua New Guinea tacklers.
Kiwis Haka
The Kiwis perform their haka before going into battle against Papua New Guinea in pool play at the World Cup.
Sam Kasiano
Sam Kasiano barrels through the Papua New Guinean defence during the Kiwis' 56-10 rout.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Two-try scorer Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tries to step England's Sean O'Loughlin.
Kevin Locke
Kiwis fullback Kevin Locke gets caught between four English defenders.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson takes a first half kick at goal.
Ryan Hall
England wing Ryan Hall is taken by Kiwis Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dean Whare.
Brett Ferres
England's Brett Ferres is tackled by Shaun Johnson and another Kiwis defender.
Kiwis haka
The Kiwis perform the haka ahead of their semifinal against England.
Shaun Johnson
Kiwis players pile on Shaun Johnson after his match-trying try, before he converted to send New Zealand into the Rugby League World Cup final.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson dives over to score in the last minute to rescue the Kiwis.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson leaps into the arms of team-mates after his match-winning conversion.
Issac Luke
Issac Luke leaps in the air in celebration as Shaun Johnson (No 7) and other Kiwis players raise their arms after Johnson's match-winning conversion.
Manu Vatuvei
Kiwis wing Manu Vatuvei is lifted off the ground in the tackle of Jarryd Hayne.
Billy Slater
Billy Slater scores the first try of the final in the tackle of Dean Whare.
Issac Luke
Kiwis hooker Issac Luke is scragged by Australians Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith.
Cooper Cronk
After being denied earlier, Cooper Cronk dives over for a first half try.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams looks up at a sorry-looking scoreboard.
Greg Inglis and Kevin Locke
Kiwis fullback Kevin Locke mishandles the high kick under pressure from Greg Inglis.
Jarryd Hayne and Manu Vatuvei
Jarryd Hayne and Manu Vatuvei compete for a high kick out wide.
Dejected Kiwis
Dejected Kiwis players (from left) Sonny Bill Williams, Dean Whare and Kieran Foran.
Simon Mannering
Kiwis captain Simon Mannering is fended in the face by Paul Gallen.

Shaun Johnson scored the most important try of his life to give the Kiwis an incredible 20-18 win over England and book the team's place in next weekend's Rugby League World Cup final.

Trailing 18-14, the Kiwis' reign as world champions looked almost certain to be over as the minutes and seconds ticked away, but from the last play possible Johnson came up with the goods for a try that will go down in New Zealand rugby league folklore.

There were two minutes to go and the Kiwis were 40m from the English line with time for just one more attack.

Shaun Johnson
MATCH-WINNER: Kiwis players pile on Shaun Johnson after his match-trying try, before he converted to send New Zealand into the Rugby League World Cup final.

After England were penalised for a high tackle on Sonny Bill Williams, Johnson got the winner, side-stepping two England defenders for the try, then kicking the conversion to win.

New Zealand march onwards to the final, where they will face Australia, who demolished Fiji 64-0 in the second semifinal.

It was a tense game throughout, right from when Sam Tomkins saved England in the fourth minute, by just managing to kick the ball away from Issac Luke as he attempted to ground it.


The Kiwis came close to scoring again a minute later but Jason Nightingale was driven out a metre from the line.

New Zealand continued to have the early pressure, but they weren't the first to score, as it was England's Sean O'Loughlin who crossed the line in the 16th minute after Sam Burgess sucked in two Kiwis before offloading to the English lock.

For the first time since a brief period in their opening game against Samoa, the Kiwis were rattled. As the momentum swung England's way silly mistakes appeared in their game and even Williams was playing poorly.

England stretched their lead to eight points with a penalty to Kevin Sinfield in the 25th minute, but five minutes later New Zealand scored an incredible try, Luke's long pass looked like going out, but Dean Whare showed miraculous skill to pluck the ball out of the air and flick it back to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for his seventh try of the tournament.

A minute before the break Shaun Johnson slotted a penalty, which meant that the game was all locked up at 8-8 at the end of a gripping first half.

Three minutes into the second half Tuivasa-Sheck got his second try, showing more of his quick footwork and strength to get past two England players.

In the 52nd minute a second Johnson stretched the Kiwis lead with his second penalty, to make the score 14-8. There were the five penalties in a row England conceded and ill discipline like that will always cost a team.

Kallum Watkins scored a try for England and in the 57th minute, but Sinfield missed the simple conversion. However, not long after the hosts were back in front when Sam Burgess powered over.

New Zealand had their chances late in the game but just weren't clinical enough and it look like this tournament would end in tears, but with just 15 seconds to go, Johnson burst through the England defence.

New Zealand 20 (Roger Tuivasa-Scheck 2, Shaun Johnson tries; Johnson 4 goals) England 18 (Sean O'Loughlin, Kallum Watkins, Sam Burgess tries; Kevin Sinfield 3 goals). HT: 8-8

Fairfax Media