AAP Rugby

Moses at home as Aussies win maiden nines

By AAP Newswire

Mitchell Moses opened Bankwest Stadium with the ground's first try and has ended the year by guiding Australia to the inaugural World Cup Nines title at the venue.

Some six months after he set alight the heaving stadium on opening day for Parramatta, Moses was crowned player of the nines with a grand-final hat-trick in Australia's 24-10 win over New Zealand.

It capped off a wonderful weekend for the Eels halfback, with his 20 individual points in the decider easily the best individual performance of the tournament.

"I love playing here, it's a great stadium," Moses said.

"It was a good (weekend), definitely just taken a lot out of the week learning from world-class players.

"I was just in the right place at the right time and on the end of a great backline and forward pack."

The Parramatta halfback scored two of his tries in the bonus zone, including Australia's first when he bust through from 25 metres out to dot down under the posts.

It came after he was also instrumental in the Kangaroos' semi-final win over Samoa earlier on Saturday night in front of 15,684 fans.

"I loved the association with him over the last couple of weeks because we took him to Fiji (for Prime Minister's XIII)," coach Mal Meninga said.

"I had him at PNG as well for the PMs a couple of years back.

"But he's certainly maturing as a person and as a player. He's starting to put some pressure on guys at the big end."

David Fifita was also strong for the Kangaroos throughout the weekend, playing a role in Moses' final try on the fulltime siren and finishing with a game-high 103 metres and four tackle busts.

But the final didn't avoid controversy, with Kyle Feldt's match sealer for Australia awarded despite the hint of a double movement and the ball appearing to be put down short of the line.

Jamayne Isaako was again one of the Kiwis' best, crossing for the seventh time of the weekend to lead the competition's top try-scorer lists.

New Zealand had earlier won their way to the decider when they accounted for England in the semi-finals, ending an inconsistent tournament for the Lions after they were also shocked by Lebanon earlier on Saturday.

The Cedars were the other big story of the tournament, after their fairytale run ended in farcical scenes.

At one stage front-runners for the finals, Lebanon had two players banned from facing Wales in their last match less than an hour before kick-off for being underage.

A deflated Cedars side were then beaten 25-14, knocking them out of the tournament after they also had points stripped for fielding one of the 17-year-olds against France.

Under NRL rules, players must be 18 to take the field but international laws have dictated the minimum age is 16.

The nines is an international event run by the NRL and it's believed Lebanon's team management had been warned on Thursday the players were too young.

Earlier, Tonga and Fiji had been the competition's great disappointments, with the latter's golden-try win over their Pacific rivals the only victory either team had in the competition.