Mon, Nov 6, 10:46am by Staff Writer
Week 2 saw the favourites for the Rugby League World Cup solidify their position. Despite no major shocks there was plenty of entertainment across the three host nations.
Australia continue to lead the way as they cruised past France in Canberra on Friday night. Wade Graham was the star of the show on the night as he ran in for four tries. The fact that he won making his debut made it all the more impressive. Bigger tests remain for the Kangaroos but all they can do is to continue playing the brand of rugby league that they currently are. They moved from a $1.14 to $1.20 regardless of the win.
Although New Zealand ran riot against Scotland, they have also seen their price lengthen to $8 from $7. As the top nations signal their intent for the latter stages of the World Cup. Shaun Johnson took advantage of poor Scottish defending to notch up 22 points to his name to become his nations all-time leading points scorer. Things only got worse for Scotland after the 74-6 rout, as three players including star Danny Brough were sent home for disciplinary reasons after the game.
England bounced back from their loss to Australia on the opening weekend, to register their first win of the tournament. A resolute Lebanon were not the pushovers England would have been expecting. As they were forced to battle for the win in a feisty contest, marred by allegations of biting from Lebanon captain Robbie Farah. Who accused English winger Jermanie McGillvary after the two were involved in a scuffle. English hopes for a World Cup win dropped to $13.
They are joined on $13 by Tonga who overcame Samoa in what was arguably the match of the weekend. The two Pacific heavyweights went toe to toe from the pre-match to the final whistle. With the Tongans edging out their rivals 32-18. They booked their place in a first ever World Cup quarter final with the win and now face New Zealand next week in a winner takes all clash at the top of Pool B.
As for Samoa they fell from $81 to $501 to win the World Cup and will take on Scotland next week knowing that a win is vital.
Away from Pool A and B, Fiji put on a blistering performance as they ran rampant against a valiant Wales side. Fiji shortened to $81 from $101 but are yet to face any of the top sides at the World Cup. With Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu in scintillating form, however, they could be a real threat in the knockout stages.
A late try for Papua New Guinea edged them past Ireland who pushed the home side all the way in Port Moresby. PNG dropped to $101 from $67 despite the win as they battled past an Irish side who continue to impress.
Rounding out the weekend’s games were Italy who convincingly beat the USA. After an opening loss to Ireland and an injury crisis in the halves, this win was exactly what the Italians needed. A convincing performance has set them up for a huge clash with Fiji in Week 3.
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