On Saturday, hosts England will take center stage in the Rugby League World Cup, with two of their three teams potentially advancing to the semi-finals. While the men control their own destiny, a win for the women and a good result elsewhere could see them make the last four with a group game to spare.
Here’s everything you need to know before Saturday’s game…
Women’s Group A – England vs. Canada
Wigan’s DW Stadium is the venue.
When: 12 p.m. (GMT)
BBC Two and BBC iPlayer are available on television.
Paki Parkinson is the referee (New Zealand)
So far in the Rugby League World Cup, England has defeated Brazil 72-4.
So far, Canada has lost the RLWC to Papua New Guinea. 12-34
Despite scoring 72 points on Brazil in their first match, Craig Richards’ England will know they can improve on their performance at Headingley against the South American minnows. Amy Hardcastle and Courtney Winfield-Hill both had hat-tricks as the Wall of White made hay on the left flank, but there were times when they let their high standards slip. This should be a tougher test for the host nation against a Canada team that had Papua New Guinea on the rack for long stretches in their first match.
Richards may make changes to his lineup after insisting after Brazil’s victory that Tara Stanley will return to her more comfortable full-back position after starting in the centers in Leeds on Tuesday.
Sportsman fact: Saturday marks the first time England has ever played against the same nation in World Cups in both codes of rugby on the same day, following the England rugby union women’s team’s match against Canada earlier this morning in New Zealand.
also read: Australia vs. New Zealand women’s Rugby League World Cup final: When, how to watch, squads, odds
England is 9/1 to win the tournament, while Canada is 150/1.
Where: DW Stadium, Wigan, England vs. Papua New Guinea – Men’s Quarter-Final.
When: at 2:30 p.m. (GMT)
BBC One and BBC iPlayer are available on television.
Liam Moore is the referee (England)
Papua New Guinea defeated England 36-6 in their most recent meeting (Melbourne, RLWC 2017)
England has won Group A of the Rugby League World Cup so far (beat Samoa 60-6, France 42-18 and Greece 94-4)
So far in the RLWC, Papua New Guinea has finished second in Group D. (lost to Tonga 18-24, beat Cook Islands 32-16 and Wales 36-0)
As England begins their knockout campaign, one gets the impression that this is where Shaun Wane will really shine. With each Group A victory, the fiercely competitive head coach has demanded more and more from his players, and now that it’s win-or-go-home, the former Wigan manager will have his side revved up for the final stretch. He has reverted to a squad that thrashed Samoa on opening day, and it will most likely be the basis of his selection for the rest of the tournament.
England’s 196-point haul in the group stage means that this is already the highest-scoring World Cup campaign in the country’s history.
England is 1/20, Papua New Guinea is 9/1, and the draw is 22/1, according to OKBET.
England is 6/1 to win the tournament, while Papua New Guinea is 150/1.
Women’s Group A: Papua New Guinea vs. Brazil
Hull’s MKM Stadium is the venue.
When: 5 p.m. (GMT)
BBC Red Button and BBC iPlayer on television
Referee: Ben Casty (France)
So far in Papua New Guinea’s RLWC: Canada was defeated 34-12.
Brazil’s RLWC record thus far: 4-72 loss to England
Ben Jeffries’ Orchids will believe they have far more in them than they demonstrated in defeating Canada 34-12 in their first Group A match at Headingley, having taken their time to get going and riding their luck before the half-time interval. Martha Molowia’s two excellent second-half tries were the difference in the end, and she will be crucial to PNG’s hopes of making it two wins from two in Hull.
Brazil will be buzzing from their first World Cup game, and Natalia Momberg’s lone try against England will live long in the memory. However, if they are to leave these shores with anything more than fleeting highlights, they will need to shore up their defense in the remaining two group games.
A victory would give Papua New Guinea its first three-game winning streak at any level of competition.
Papua New Guinea is 20/1 to win the tournament, while Brazil is 500/1.
New Zealand v Fiji – Men’s Quarter-Final Where: MKM Stadium, Hull.
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (GMT)
BBC Two and BBC iPlayer are available on television.
Gerard Sutton, referee (Australia)
Last meeting: New Zealand defeated Fiji 2-4. (Wellington, RLWC 2017)
So far in the RLWC, New Zealand has won Group C. (beat Lebanon 34-12, Jamaica 68-6 and Ireland 48-10)
So far in the RLWC, Fiji has finished second in Group B. (lost to Australia 8-42, beat Italy 60-6 and Scotland 30-14)
New Zealand is out for vengeance after losing at the same stage of the World Cup to the same opponents in 2017. Still reeling from the loss of a number of former stars to their home countries, the Kiwis were defeated by a fired-up Fiji in a tryless match in Wellington. The 2008 champions appear to be in better shape this time around, but even after scoring 10 tries against Ireland last time out, they were prone to lapses. They will also be without Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the game in Hull due to his one-match suspension for a high shot that earned him a yellow card against the Wolfhounds.
Fiji will be attempting to reach a fourth consecutive semi-final after being soundly defeated by Australia in the previous three tournaments. While Sunia Turuva and Apisai Koroisau have been two of the competition’s stars thus far, the Fiji Bati had to work hard to beat Scotland in their third group match and will need to improve significantly if they are to beat the Kiwis again.
Fiji (three) is one of only five nations to have reached consecutive semi-finals since the World Cup reverted to its current format in 1995, joining Australia (five straight), England (five), New Zealand (four), and Wales (two).
New Zealand is 1/150, Fiji is 14/1, and the draw is 25/1 at OKBET.
New Zealand is 9/2 to win the tournament, while Fiji is 250/1.