Rugby league: England tops France 40-6 in Bennett's 1st game

AVIGNON, France (AP) — Australian coach Wayne Bennett made a winning start in charge of England's rugby league team with a 40-6 victory over France on Saturday.

Winger Ryan Hall scored two tries to extend his national team record to 28 in 28 appearances, and England touched down seven times in total in its last warmup ahead of the Four Nations starting next week.

France was also under a new head coach, Aurelien Cologni, and was unrecognisable from the side that was humbled 84-4 at Leigh a year ago, providing the English with the serious workout they needed before taking on New Zealand in their Four Nations opener next Saturday at Huddersfield.

Daryl Clark, George Burgess, Kevin Brown, Jermaine McGillvary and Gareth Widdop were England's other try-scorers.

The only real disappointment for Bennett was the loss of acting captain James Graham with a head injury, the result of a dangerous late tackle 10 minutes from time. He will need a concussion assessment to prove his fitness ahead of the New Zealand game.

Australia and Scotland open the Four Nations on Friday in Hull.

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