Papua New Guinea

RLWC Tips | 4th-5th November 2017

RUGBY LEAGUE betting boff Andy Day picks out his best bets from the second round of World Cup matches.

The Rugby World Cup is now in full swing and with all the sides getting 80 minutes under their belts last weekend to help blow the cobwebs off, expect the quality and excitement – not to mention the points scoring – to increase this weekend.

England v Lebanon | Saturday 09:00 | BBC

England got their campaign off to respectable start, pushing world champions Australia all the way before succumbing to a 18-4 defeat in Melbourne. Stand out performances from Gareth Widdop and Wigan’s own Sean O’Loughlin gave much for England fans to be hopeful for and a strong showing against the lowest ranked team in the competition is a must.

Lebanon surprised many by beating France 29-18 in Gameweek 1. Many might assume this was a result with large slices of luck but the Cedars were good value for their win and will be again looking to inspirational captain – and former Daily M Player of the Year runner up – Robbie Farah to provide the quality to give them a chance of another shock.

Unfortunately, for all those Lebanon fans who read this column – don’t all shout at once – I can see nothing but a comfortable England win. The Three Lions have picked as close to a full strength side as they could – minus Sam Burgess – and will be looking for a highly polished performance to help set a platform for bigger challenges to come.

New Zealand v Scotland | Saturday 04:00 | Premier Sports

New Zealand began their campaign with a 38-8 win over neighbours Samoa and have rung the changes for this one in a bid to right a wrong set at the last World Cup. On a cold Friday night in Workington, Scotland stunned the Kiwis with a last-minute converted try to record a sensational 18-18 draw.

That memory is still fresh in the mind of New Zealand and despite resting Thomas Leuluai, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Simon Mannering and Jordan Rapana the Kiwis are still able to call on NRL stars such as Jason Nightingale and Elijah Taylor.

Scotland themselves have also made changes with Alex Walker, winger Oscar Thomas and second-row Jarred Anderson are brought in by head coach Steve McCormack in an effort to banish last week’s disappointing 50-4 defeat to Tonga.

Similar to the England game, I expect New Zealand to produce an improved performance from last week and comfortably defeat the Scots. With the added incentive of banishing the memories of 2016 World Cup, I fear this could be close to a cricket score!

Papua New Guinea v Ireland | Sunday 06:00 | Premier Sports

PNG were arguable the most impressive side of Gameweek 1 showing incredible strength, aggression and power to dispatch a battered Wales side who, at the end of 80 mins, looked like a team still unsure about what had just hit them.

With the partisan crowd behind them, full back David Mead and monster front rower Willie Minoga scored four tries between them and were rightly crowned joint players of the match.

Ireland themselves recorded an impressive win against a favoured Italy side which will go a long way in giving the Irish the belief the can win this group and set up a mouthwatering tie with England in the quarter-finals.

They will again look for big performances from Super League duo Liam Finn and Scott Grix but this game will be won or lost in the forwards. More accurately, whether or not St Helens due Kyle Amor and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook can handle the ferocious PNG pack.

I am unsure as to which way this is going to go, but believe the sizeable positive handicap given to Ireland is beyond generous.

Recommended Bets

England v Lebanon – England –32.5 handicap

New Zealand v Scotland – New Zealand -46.5 handicap

Papua New Guinea v Ireland – Ireland +18.5 handicap