Thu, Oct 27, 10:19am by Christopher Duffy
Rugby League’s Four Nations tournament kicks off this weekend in the UK. Australia’s first hurdle to reclaiming the title from New Zealand is to overcome an underdog Scotland side, while the Kiwis will face the hosts England in the first round fixtures.
Currently Australia are favourites to be the 2016 Four Nations winners with William Hill. The Kangaroos are priced at $1.50 with the Kiwis at $3.75 followed by England at $5.50. Scotland will be aiming to not just be bystanders in the competition by producing a shock result against one of the top nations. For them to win the tournament, however, the price is extremely long at $201.00.
Scotland are boosted by several familiar faces from the UK Super League and NRL including North Queensland’s Lachlan Coote and Danny Brough. They will be looking to be the architects of Australia’s downfall this weekend and produce an historic victory. Fourth ranked sides have not enjoyed themselves in this competition since its creation. With a price of $21.00 with William Hill to beat Australia it is hard to see things improving this year.
Australia, on the other hand, are in fine form after back to back wins over New Zealand in this year’s ANZAC Day Test and a recent warm up match in Perth. Coupled with their wealth of talent and experience from Origin, International and NRL games they are worthy of their price of $1.01. Head coach Mal Meninga has shown his hand with selection by naming five debutants in the side to face Scotland. Despite this they still have plenty of quality in the team to win by 13+ points which is priced at $1.03 with William Hill.
Bet of the Match: Australia to win by 13+ points at $1.03
On the opening weekend of the tournament, it is the clash between England and current Four Nations Champions New Zealand that provides the most mouth-watering tie. The Kiwis are in what can only be described as a slump after demoralising defeats to Australia. Jason Taumalolo will be the key man for them as they look to unsettle the hosts with a monstrous sized pack. Despite being outplayed recently the Kiwi pack will be bursting for a chance to put things right. William Hill prices them at $1.74 for the win.
As is so often the case, the English invented the sport only for it to be mastered overseas. League in England must contend with many challenges inside its own borders so when the Kiwis and Aussies arrive the challenge is magnified. England have yet to win a Four Nations title and with a squad brimming with world class talent in the likes of Sam Burgess and James Graham this could be their best chance so far. Armed with insider knowledge on the opposition from new coach and former Australia coach, Wayne Bennett, England will be looking to make a statement against the Kiwis. They are priced at $2.10 to claim victory here.
Bet of the Match: New Zealand to win by 1-12 points at $3.00
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