Wed, Nov 15, 10:08am by Staff Writer
With the 2017 Rugby League World Cup now at the Quarter Final stages, the competition starts to hot up. The first half of the draw is under the spotlight, as Australia take on Samoa and New Zealand facing Fiji. The winner of each game will meet in the Semi Finals.
Australia v Samoa, Friday 17th November, 8.30pm (AEDT), Darwin
The Kangaroos head into this match as huge favourites after a clean sweep in the Pool stages. Australia brushed aside England in their opening game, although it took until the last ten minutes to finish them off. They then had the opportunity to try out new combinations as they cruised past France and Lebanon.
Australia’s biggest concern at this stage will be that they haven’t really been tested since that game against England. Samoa are unlikely to offer much competition to stop Australia winning the game at $1.01.
It has been an extremely disappointing World Cup campaign for Samoa. They entered the tournament with high hopes in a Pool featuring winnable matches against Scotland and Tonga. Whilst they would have expected to struggle against the Kiwis, not many would have forseen them reaching this stage of the tournament without winning a game.
Losses to the Kiwis and Tonga were followed up with a draw against Scotland. Edging themselves into the Quarters on points difference. They’ll need a minor miracle if they are to turn their fortunes around priced at $21.
Bet of the Match: Dane Gagai to Score the First Try at $6.50
New Zealand v Fiji, Saturday 18th November, 5.30pm (AEDT), Wellington
The Kiwis are beginning to get a reputation for being on the wrong side of historic results. First Scotland claimed a draw against them in the 2016 Four Nations and now they were beaten by Tonga at the World Cup. As results go, things do not get bigger than Tonga’s win last weekend. New Zealand will have to bounce back stronger than ever when they take on a Fiji side in hot form.
The Kiwis have the squad to match their price of $1.17, but it will be a question of mentality and whether they can put the loss behind them. A poor second half performance cost them and has now put them on course to meet Australia in the Semi Finals, a side they would rather have waited until the Final to meet.
Fiji excelled in their Pool claiming three wins out of three. Although much tougher tests await them, none more so than the Kiwis this weekend. They will have seen how Tonga stayed in the game long enough for their hard runners and magic makers in the backs to cause damage in the final 20 minutes of the game.
If Fiji are close on the scoreboard heading into the second half, then there could be an even bigger upset on the cards. Fiji stand at $5.10.
Bet of the Match: Suliasi Vunivalu Anytime Tryscorer at $2.25
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