Mon, Oct 30, 12:05pm by Staff Writer
A thrilling weekend of action at the Rugby League World Cup has given fans just a taste of what is left to come. Without a doubt the world’s best league stars are on show and will be for the next few weeks.
As many expected Australia started their tournament strongly with a gritty win over England. The Kangaroos were made to wait until the last five minutes of the match to edge away from the English. There will be some concerns with regards to how much possession and territory they had but were kept at bay for so long by England. Australia will need to regain their attacking threat as the tournament progresses. They have shortened to a $1.14 to retain their World Cup title.
The loss of Sam Burgess to injury in the first half on Friday night did not have too much of an adverse effect on the side. Although long term his injury may well be felt through the squad as they wait to see if he can regain fitness by the quarter final stages. Having lost to Australia they will now face a tougher task to reach the Final but they showed in their opening match lots of potential against a formidable opponent. England have slipped to $8.50 in their hunt of World Cup glory.
New Zealand edged closer to another possible World Cup showdown with Australia as they beat Samoa to kick off their tournament. They moved from $8 to $7 to win the World Cup. They cruised past Samoa despite plenty of handling errors, running away as 38-8 victors. The Kiwis simply had too much for the Samoans to handle.
The biggest movers of the weekend were Tonga who went from $21 to $12 after their emphatic win over Scotland. Whilst putting 50 points past Scotland signalled their intent, there are bigger tests waiting for them. Much has been made of the inclusion of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita but the entire side put on an impressive display in Sunday’s match in Cairns. The Tongans credentials will truly be put to the test in Week 2 when they take on Pacific rivals, Samoa.
Papua New Guinea impressed as they hammered a sorry Wales side in Port Moresby, 50-6. Prior to the tournament the Kumuls had stood on $101 but moved to $67 with that fantastic win in front of their home fans.
Despite a big win for Fiji their hopes of a first World Cup win have been dented as they dropped from $81 to $101. They cruised past the USA, 58-12, but impressive performances from their rivals have dampened their hopes. They should still make the quarter finals with relative ease but from there on in it just gets harder.
Ireland and Lebanon recorded famous win in Week 1, with the Irish surprising the Italians in Cairns. Whilst Lebanon shocked France to register their first ever win at a World Cup. The wins were momentous but had little impact on their chances of World Cup glory as Lebanon remained on $501 and Ireland plummeted to $1001.
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