2017 RLWC: All Sides ‘Fight the Odds’ in World Cup Quarterfinals

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A general view of the field of play is seen before the start of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match on October 28, 2017 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

After the round-robin matches, we have come to the business-end of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) and the intensity keeps getting higher. All sides ‘fight the odds’ in World Cup quarterfinals to show the world that they can compete on the biggest stage in the sport.

The giants are all here; in Australia, England and New Zealand. Many are the ‘odds on favourites’ to regain their supremacy. England, not yet hitting it’s straps could well be the sleeping giant, ready to peak at the right moment.

However, the qualifying teams include a terrific range of nations, including the Cedars of Lebanon [who could surprise us all]. The last two rounds of the round robin matches have given fans some results that will echo in memories forever.

From the thrills of the Kumuls of Papua New Guinea holding off the defiant Irish. Who could forget the free-flowing Fiji Bati with their try scoring abilities – Fiji leads all nations in points scored, with 168 pts and 32 tries scored!

Ground Breaking Results in 2017 RLWC

As much as all 14 teams have made contributions to the positive atmosphere, it is the results that standout. Ireland defeating France in Round One. Some big scores have also entertained; New Zealand 74 points in Christchurch, Australia 52 pts and Fiji 72 pts in Round Two.

And to ramp up the results, on Saturday afternoon one of the most ground breaking results occurred. Tonga, a tier two nation had been boosted by NRL stars following new eligibility laws, faced New Zealand. What happened over the next 80 minutes was some outstanding rugby league.

That outcome would not only shine a light on the tier two nations, and their show of power from the policies of the world body. Fans of the Mate Ma’a cheered and danced the night away, all across the world.

Chahooo!!

Pacific Sides Challenge for the Title in 2017

In the soundtrack from the Transformers movie, Stan Bush sang this lines;

“You never bend, you never break, you seem to know
just what it takes. You’re a fighter
It’s in the blood, it’s in the will, it’s in the mighty
hands of steel. When you’re standing your ground.
And you never give in when you’re back’s to the wall
gonna fight till the end and you’re taking it all.”

That is the spirit that the Pacific island sides are taking with them, into the Cup quarterfinals. The odds are heavily against them  all–with Tonga, the only side favored to reach the semifinal stages.

The Fiji Bati will take on a ‘wounded’ New Zealand side in Wellington. The Kumuls will take on the mighty English side in Melbourne. And the Toa Samoa must handle the Kangaroos Friday night, up in Darwin.

True, it might be an uphill battle for the smaller, tier two nations but the island boys will certainly give it their all!

2017 Rugby League World Cup Quaterfinal Fixtures:

Match 1 – Kangaroos v Toa Samoa

The Toa Samoa side will be out to give the Kangaroo a run for their money. They are disappointed with their last performance against the Scots and will be raring to go. They have named a very formidable side to take on the worlds best.

Ben Roberts and Jarome Luai will have to dig deep and find ways in controlling Cooper Cronk and Michael Morgan. The five-eighths will control the game with the forwards laying the platform. Toa Samoa have to play the game of their lives.

Match 2 – Mate Ma’a Tonga v Lebanon Cedars

With Michael Jennings returning expect the Tongan back five to spark in the game. However, the threat of Mitchell Moses and Robbie Farah will be on their minds.

The island kingdom has the upper hand, they shouldn’t be complacent and take the Cedars lightly.

Match 3 – Fiji Bati v New Zealand Kiwis

This will be the game of the round as both teams will throw everything at each other. The Kiwis have opted for a more young and energetic pack to match the Fijians.

Te Maire Martin and Danny Levi will test the Fijians resolve. However, Henry Raiwalui, Api Koroisau and Jarryd Hayne will be key for the Fijians with Suli Vunivalu.

On the other hand, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Joseph Tapine will test the Fijian forwards all day. Aku Uate will be hot to handle in the centers too. Don’t miss  the Bati against the Kiwis for anything this weekend.

Match 4 – England Lions v PNG Kumuls

This is another encounter you wouldn’t want to miss as it will be filled with thrills and spills. The Kumuls are on a high with the English struggling to find their killer instincts.

Papua New Guinea can do this right, handle themselves we,, defend like it is their last, they will triumph. They have a strong squad and even with Sam Burgess, the English can be handled.

RLWC Overview….

On paper, the English, Aussies and Kiwis should all win their quarterfinal duels; as will Tonga. However, as any Pacific Islander will tell you, they hope one of the Pacific sides will ‘pull out of a miracle’.

The bookies will likely have an Australia and New Zealand semifinal, with England and Tonga holding the other playoff match. For the believers and dreamers it might be Fiji v Australia, with Papua New Guinea v Tonga to send their fans into further celebrations.

‘What if’ might not be the reality, but in 2017 all sides ‘Fight the Odds’ in World Cup quarterfinals.

Follow all the results, as the 2017 RLWC heats up.

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Women Take to Center Stage of League World

The first round of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup began on Thursday, with the Aussies girls out defend their world title.

New Zealand has a strong squad, with the Cook Island recruiting some former Black Ferns players. Beni Koiatu and Chantelle Schofield; who were part of the Cook Islands sevens team at the recent Oceania Sevens, are also in the Cooks side.

Six teams will complete at this years event, which follows on the heels of the men’s tournament.

Australia is in Pool A with England and Cook Islands. On the other side of the draw are New Zealand, who have the Papua New Guinea and the Canadian side to handle in Pool B.

Games will be broadcast live in New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“Main photo credit”
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