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Best World Cup ever: Five things we've learnt

England suffered a heartbreaking loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals of what has been arguably the best Rugby League World Cup ever. Credit: SWpix.com Copyright: SWpix.com

1. This has been the best World Cup ever

At the very least, the unforgettable semi-final between England and New Zealand confirmed one thing: no matter what happens in the final, RLWC 2013 is already the best World Cup ever. 

Inaugural 1953 hosts France and 2008 first-time winners New Zealand might disagree, but who can argue with Joseph Paulo's face being photoshopped on Mount Rushmore, Petero Civoniceva turning back the clock to guide Fiji to the semi-finals and the great Sonny Bill Williams humiliating himself over the dead ball line? And we haven't even begun talking about the big games yet! 

The minnows entertained and the superpowers provided an encore. What more could we possibly want? 

2. Jury still out on Sam Tomkins

It's easy to say this now, what with the blonde-haired Billy Slater prototype busy packing his winter coats for the chilly temperatures of Auckland, but the fact that incumbent Warriors fullback Kevin Locke outplayed the incoming one last weekend must surely raise the eyebrows of our trans-Tasman friends. 

Locke has made no secret of his desire to keep his jersey, but then again, Eric Watson and Sir Owen Glenn aren't paying a record $1.2 million in transfer fees for the England's megastar to sit on the wings. 

And with many of the Locke's clubmates defending in the front line at international level, it's going to make for a very interesting welcome for the England No. 1.

3. A fourth superpower will be born

Is there any chance the wily Civoniceva can hold onto those boots for another 12 months? Because it seems like next year's Four Nations tournament is about to get another touch of the Pacific Islands. 

Plans are underway for Fiji and Samoa to face-off during next year's representative round for the right to become the much-needed fourth superpower. 

Whether or not they actually have what it takes to overcome the Kangaroos, Lions and Kiwis is another debate altogether, but none can deny that the next step for the World Cup is to create a semi-final team that won't get embarrassed 62-0. 

4. Current Kangaroos defend like Invincibles

It's been over 320 minutes since the Australian tryline has been breached, and that takes this batch of Kangaroos as close to the original Invincibles as you can get. 

The opposition – of which they faced the Bati twice – hasn't been that great, but at the very least it takes a whole lot of determination to hold four teams out for that long. 

New Zealand, who boast an attacking artillery more dangerous than SWAT, present a worthy challenge for this current Australian team.

5. Burgess v SBW is the real deal

Whether it's Sam, Luke, George, Tom or even mum Julie, the rivalry between the code-hopping Kiwi and the four-headed Rabbitoh is genuine, and the high shot from George Burgess that cost England the World Cup won't be forgotten. 

George is an absolute star in the making, and with his more-than-aggressive brothers in arms, expect a cracking start when the Rabbitohs take on the Roosters in season 2014. It'll be a thing of beauty.

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