England rugby league

England Take Aim at Rugby League World Cup Final Spot

The Rugby League World Cup has reached the semi-final stage and the pre-tournament anticipation of an Australia versus England final remains on course.

It did not take a genius to suggest Australia would go all the way, Mal Meninga’s side are the outstanding team in the sport and began the tournament as 1.20 favourites with 188BET.

We came down in favour of England over New Zealand to provide Australia with the biggest test, and that looks set to play out.

Australia cruised past Fiji 54-6 on Friday morning to book their place in next weekend’s final; it’s now England’s turn to lay down their own marker in the second semi-final with Tonga.

Wayne Bennett’s side lost the World Cup curtain raiser to Australia way back on October 27, but they have built steadily into the tournament and were too good for Papua New Guinea in the quarter-finals.

Tonga will be no pushovers as they play an exhilarating brand of rugby, with Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita two players who never know when to give up. Tonga will certainly bring an attacking spark to the table, it’s the only way they know how to play, but they will be up against a brilliant England defence.

It could be a case of the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. Big hits will be made from both sides, but England’s defence will be strong enough to withstand a lot of Tongan pressure and their own backs will have enough class to make an impression at the other end of the pitch.

The two sides will match up closely, but England’s replacement options look superior to Tonga’s and that could tell in the final 15 minutes.

With the Ashes currently taking place in Australia, the anti-England feeling will likely to be ratcheted up a notch. Tonga will certainly have the majority of the crowd behind them at the Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, but Bennett has a host of big-name players to call on and a hostile crowd will not worry them.

It’s likely to be tight for some time, but the feeling is that the Tongans have given their all and will come up short on this occasion. England are 1.55 for the win, with Tonga at 2.40, and Bennett’s men are a confident selection.

England wingers Jermaine McGillvary and Ryan Hall have been excellent so far and have a price boost of 2.75 for them both to get on the scoresheet to add to their six and two tries respectively.