As the Rugby League World Cup comes to a close, the final game sees a rematch of the first game of the tournament. England v Australia was widely predicted and is to be pitting the best teams in the competition against each other. England kept it a tight contest the last time the sides met, only letting Australia win by 12 in an 18-4 loss in Melbourne. Have the Poms learned from their earlier loss?
Who’s to say the Kangaroos haven’t learnt from the last time these sides met. The additional game time between this contest and the prior will help the Kangaroos more than the English. With the higher ceiling it’s hard to see the English improving more than the Australian’s have. With that said, Australia should be covering a three try margin.
3 KEY POINTS
- Valentine Holmes is the Tournament’s equal leading point scorer alongside Cameron Smith (48), despite not kicking goals.
- Australia have kept opponents to 6 points or less in their last 10 World Cup matches and have kept a clean sheet in 5 of those.
- Jermaine McGillvary is the only English player with more than 3 tries (7) in the competition.
- Australia has won 12 of the 15 contests between themselves and England.
- The last time England beat Australia was by 4 points in 1995. However Great Britain last beat Australia in 2006 by 11 points.
- England’s coach Wayne Bennett was the mastermind behind New Zealand’s unlikely upset of the Kangaroos in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final.
- England has never won a Rugby League World Cup.
First Try Scorer
- England showed in the last contest that they Australia didn’t necessarily need to spread it all the way wide to get over the chalk. With last round’s incredible display from Holmes and Gagai they will be marked men to say the least. We love the idea of Slater crossing once again. His ability to insert himself in the backline makes him potent on either side and in any attacking formation.
- This is a low total and while much of the public is voting for an over, we think it could be a sneaky under that’s in the offing here. Australia has been as stingy as they come in all their performances. They’ll be on high alert as the talented English squad visit Brisbane looking to score a couple of tries, which is more than other teams who’ve faced this Australian unit can say. With Australia focusing on defence I don’t expect them to be too concerned with racking up a big score themselves. Look for the old saying, “defence wins championships” to come into play as we go under 40.5 in the Grand Final.
Winner (margin): Australia (-18.5)
First Try scorer: Billy Slater
Total: Under 40.5
Value pick: Half Time Margin AUS 5-8