England set for PNG scare


Wayne Bennett’s England look set to have a real battle on their hands on Sunday when they meet Papua New Guinea in the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup.

Having suffered a defeat to Australia in the opening game of the tournament, England have responded with wins over both Lebanon and France.

However, those victories have not been the most convincing and questions have been aimed at the smiley face of Bennett after those displays.

Stars that were rested against the French will return and forward Sam Burgess coming back from injury will be a massive boost to England as they head to Melbourne for what will be a physical clash with PNG.

The Islanders themselves have looked very impressive in the tournament and did well to battle through the group stages.

With former Leeds Rhinos stars Paul Aiton and James Segeyaro in their ranks and Garry Lo also impressing, PNG will have threats all over the park.

England should have enough to book their place in the semi-finals but the 4/5 for PNG with a +18 handicap seems the way to go in what could be a much tighter affair than some expect.

On Saturday, New Zealand will be desperate to save their World Cup as they prepare to face Fiji.

The Kiwis were stunned last time out when they suffered a 22-28 defeat to the competition’s dark horses, Tonga.

It will be interesting to see how New Zealand respond to that setback when they face a Fijian side that have some real quality in their ranks, including former Australia star Jarryd Hayne.

Again the handicap market could be the way to go in this one and Fiji with a +16 advantage at 4/5 looks an attractive price.

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