Wed, Dec 14, 12:53pm by Christopher Duffy
The Rugby League World Cup kicks off on October 27 2017 as Australia face in England in Melbourne. The tournament will see fixtures hosted in three separate nations, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as 14 of the world’s best rugby league sides battle for glory. They will all be dreaming of the chance to walk out at Suncorp Stadium for the Final on December 2.
After dominating the world of rugby league for so long, Australia’s slip from world number one came as a shock. New Zealand had a brief spell of domination but 2016 has seen the Kangaroos come back with a vengeance. The quality of players at their disposal is unrivalled by any other nation and they are rightly favourites with Sportsbet to retain the Rugby League World Cup on home soil after their 2013 victory in the UK. They currently stand at $1.40.
2016 has not been a good year for many people, least of all for the Kiwi rugby league team. They have failed to beat the Kangaroos in four meetings, only narrowly beat England and with all due respect to Scotland, suffered a humiliating draw as the Bravehearts became the first fourth ranked team to claim a point on the ladder in the Four Nations. Yet they are still the world number one ranked side and have the necessary strength to overthrow the Kangaroos if they can get their squad to gel. They are priced at $3.75.
England for so long have languished third on the ranking behind their antipodean cousins. This year was supposed to be their year to succeed.
With a wealth of NRL talent mixed with their Super League players and a highly successful coach in Wayne Bennett, England were looking to make an impact. Instead they failed to perform in the Four Nations, whether it is against the Kiwis or the Kangaroos they continually fail to deliver. If everything clicked for this side though they have the potential to be a surprise package at $9.00 with Sportsbet.
Outside of the top three nations in rugby league, it is a collection of large odds to lift the trophy. Despite its growth in popularity evidenced by the 11 nations from around the globe, none of them can be considered serious contenders. Scotland ($501.00) marvelled at the success of a draw in the Four Nations while Samoa ($67.00) failed to even do that the last time they took part in the tournament. Elsewhere the pacific island nations look strongest out of the chasing pack with Fiji and Tonga priced at $101.00.
It is difficult to see anyone overtaking Australia as favourites by October as they will surely only grow in strength as their youngsters develop more experience in the NRL. England and New Zealand will look to challenge them but it will a monumental task for either of those sides to overthrow the Kangaroos on home soil.
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