Thu, Oct 26, 10:44am by Staff Writer
Australia vs England will kick off the tournament and take the spotlight in week one of the Rugby League World Cup. Yet there will be plenty of action and possibly a couple of surprises in the week’s other matches.
New Zealand v Samoa, Saturday 28th October, Auckland
The Kiwis start the tournament joint second favourites with England to win the World Cup at $8.50. In their opening match here against Samoa, however, they will need to be on top of their game in what is now shaping up to be tough Pool B. The two sides have not met since 2014 when New Zealand edged the contest in a thrilling 14-12 victory. The Kiwis are favourites for this game priced at $1.22 and will be looking to the experience of players like Adam Blair and Shaun Johnson. They may not get everything all their way in this match but on paper they certainly look the stronger squad.
Samoa have named a squad they truly believe can take on the big of three of New Zealand, Australia and England. There is lots of NRL experience in the squad as well as its fair share of size in the pack. They will be aiming to bully the Kiwi pack up front and if they can then there could well be a surprise in Auckland. They stand at $4.30. If they can contain their emotions and passion, then Samoa could overturn those odds.
Bet of the Match: New Zealand to Win by 1-12 points at $2.90
Fiji v USA, Saturday 28th October, Townsville
The Fijians are overwhelming favourites to open their World Cup with a win over the USA. Jarryd Hayne has been drafted in to start at five-eighth, giving them a spark in attack. Fiji have made it to the semi-final stages in the last two tournaments will be aiming to do so again. With fire power out wide in the form of Melbourne Storms, Suliasi Vunivalu, there could well be lots of tries if the American defence crumbles. Fiji stand at $1.02 for the win whilst the USA are at $14. The American squad does not contain the kind of pedigree as the Fijians and this may be a game of damage limitation for them. They only have three players in their entire squad with NRL and World Cup experience. Despite that they’ll want to give it everything they have to cause an upset.
Bet of the Match: Fiji to Win by 13+ points at $1.08
Scotland v Tonga, Sunday 29th October, Cairns
This will be the first time that the new Tonga squad will be on show. Late switches of representation from Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita have boosted Tonga’s hopes of achieving success at this World Cup. Their pack could compete with any of the big three and will likely have too much for Scotland on Sunday. Tonga stand at $1.03 whilst Scotland are at $12 for this match. Tonga has lots of firepower across their pack, but Scotland have stood up to bigger sides in the past. They produced an historic draw against New Zealand in the 2016 Four Nations so they can’t be underestimated here.
Bet of the Match: Tonga to Win by 13+ points at $1.15
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