Mon, Nov 20, 10:17am by Staff Writer
It was Fiji’s turn to shock New Zealand this week in the Rugby League World Cup. Dumping the co-host nation out of the tournament in the Quarter Finals. Lebanon went close to matching the Fijians heroics but couldn’t find a way past Tonga, whilst Australia and England were never really challenged as they both reached the Semi Finals.
Australia opened the weekend with a comfortable victory over Samoa. A result that was very much expected with the Samoans only getting to the Quarters via two losses and a draw with Scotland in the Pools. Valentine Holmes was the star of the show as he became the first player to score five tries in one World Cup match as the Kangaroos ran out 46-0 victors.
In turn seeing their odds to lift the trophy shorten to a $1.17. Fiji should pose more of a threat in the Semis but at the moment, Australia look almost unbeatable in their current form.
Whilst the game was hardly a classic in terms of the rugby league quality on show, the result was all that mattered for Fiji. A 4-2 try less win would not have been what the Fijians were targeting but a spot in the Semis certainly was. Their efforts in defence were sublime as they forced error after error from the Kiwis. New Zealand made plenty of unforced errors, but all credit has to go to the work rate of the Fijians.
For the Kiwis it was the second week in a row that they have lost to a tier two nation, compounding the worries of New Zealand fans. As for they Fiji, they now face yet another monumental challenge as they take on Australia. They stand at $23 to win the World Cup.
On the other half of the draw, Tonga’s reward for beating New Zealand in their final Pool game, was a match up with Lebanon. Many would have foreseen this as an easy game for the Tongans, but Lebanon gave them an almighty scare. Whether it was fatigue from that win over New Zealand or underestimating their opponents,
Tonga just did not appear to be on top of their game. Regardless of performance though, they got the much-needed victory 24-22, to advance to the Semis. They are priced at $11 to lift the World Cup.
Tonga will face England in the Semi Finals, looking for their second tier 1 scalp in this tournament. England advanced at the expense of Papua New Guinea in a game that is unlikely to worry the remaining sides. Whilst the score line, 36-6, suggests complete control, England were at times extremely sloppy. Completion rates will be a worry against better sides, with PNG unable to capitalise on the English mistakes. They are behind Australia as favourites to win the World Cup at $8.
Rugby League World Cup Winner – Sportsbet
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