Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Harry Kane’s World Cup hat-trick was the centrepiece of an extraordinary weekend for English sport as the men’s football, rugby union, rugby league and cricket teams all triumphed, Lewis Hamilton took the flag at the French Grand Prix and golfer Matt Wallace won the BMW International Open in Germany.
The England rugby union team got the ball rolling on Saturday as they ended a run of six straight defeats, including five in full internationals, with a 25-10 victory over South Africa in Cape Town.
The three-match series my have already been lost, with England kicking-off 2-0 down, but six penalties from the boot of stand-in skipper Owen Farrell helped the side end their worst run under Australian coach Eddie Jones, while recalled fly-half Danny Cipriani provided the accurate grubber-kick that set up Jonny May’s try.
Later on Saturday, England’s rugby league side beat New Zealand 36-18 in a ground-breaking match in Denver designed to raise awareness of the 13-a-side code with US sports fans.
Elliott Whitehead scored two tries and debutant Jake Connor scored one and set up two more.
The run of sporting success continued on Sunday, with England easing into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 6-1 rout of Panama in Russia.
Kane bagged a treble, John Stones scored twice and Jesse Lingard struck a fabulous goal, with England 5-0 up before half-time in what was their biggest-ever victory at a World Cup.
All six goals received raucous cheers at the ‘other’ Old Trafford — Lancashire’s headquarters rather than the Manchester United ground of the same name — where England were playing Australia in a one-day cricket international.
England were facing defeat at 114 for eight, but Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 110 saw them to a thrilling one-wicket win and a first-ever 5-0 series sweep of world champions Australia.
Elsewhere defending champion Hamilton returned to the top of the Formula One standings by leading from start to finish to win the French GP.
It was a first victory in the race for four-time world champion Hamilton, who was aided by Sebastian Vettel’s opening-lap crash with Valtteri Bottas at the Paul Ricard circuit.
By contrast, Wallace came from two shots off the lead to hit a final round seven-under-par 65 to win by one stroke in Pulheim
Wallace was already in the clubhouse when both Martin Kaymer and Mikko Korhonen failed to equal his four-round total of 278.
The duo had to settle for a share of second place along with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, whose record-breaking round of 61 could not deny Wallace victory.