LEEDS: Reigning champions Australia advanced to the final of the Rugby League World Cup after an enthralling 16-14 victory over New Zealand in Leeds on Friday in the first meeting between the two heavyweights since October 2019. New Zealand, who won the Cup in 2008, held a 14-10 lead at half-time at Elland Road as a tit-for-tat game unfolded showcasing a masterclass of execution under pressure. Tries by Kiwi half-backs Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown bookended two from Australian wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Valentine Holmes in a top-quality first-half that saw Jordan Rapana convert both Kiwi tries and hit a penalty, while Nathan Cleary managed just one conversion. A Cameron Murray piledriver and a second Cleary conversion were the sole scores in a nail-biting second period to ensure Mal Meninga’s Australia made the November 19 final in Manchester — the Kangaroos haven’t missed one since 1954. Tournament hosts England take on Samoa in the second semi-final, at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Saturday.