Rugby League World Cup 2013: Predicting Tournament Winners and Contenders
European shores once again welcome the Rugby League World Cup this weekend as the globe’s finest descend upon England, Wales, Ireland and France.
In total, 14 nations will compete to win the biggest honour that the sport has to offer, but not every side enters the tournament with the same chance at the championship.
Bastions of both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres will compete on some of the biggest league stages that the continent has to offer, with a few sides standing out among the rest as potential contenders for the label of world’s finest.
|Group A Winner||Group B Winner||Group C Winner||Group D Winner||Semi Final 1||Semi Final 2||Final||Winner|
|Australia||New Zealand||Italy||Wales||Australia vs. Samoa||England vs. New Zealand||Australia vs. New Zealand||Australia|
Countries To Keep An Eye On
In their most recent outing, the tournament hosts were rocked by a 15-14 loss to Italy, a game they were expected to ease past as a form of confidence booster coming into the World Cup.
As things stand, Kevin Sinfield and Co. can now react in one of two ways: The shock defeat will either invigorate the English and drive them to prove critics wrong or damage morale too late on to repair.
Speaking to BBC Sport, the English captain stated that his side will move on from the result and open with a flourish against Australia.
Do England have a realistic chance of winning the Rugby League World Cup?
If The Old Dart can do just that, they’ll have proved themselves as contenders for silverware, which is far from out of their reach given the talent in Steve McNamara’s squad.
However, it’s a case of whether or not that talent can be blended together to produce the goods that England have mostly lacked on the World Cup stage. They have reached just one final in their fairly brief history as individual participants, so it will be some achievement if they are one of the last two teams standing.
New Zealand’s rise of recent years has been a great spectacle to watch, but there nevertheless exists a sense of doubt as to whether the Kiwis can win back-to-back World Cups.
This tournament will be a test of New Zealand’s longevity as a titan of the sport, with Stephen Kearney’s side hopeful of creating a dynasty like Australia have held in the last few decades, winning six successive tournaments prior to 2008.
With France, Samoa and Papua New Guinea around, there’s little doubt that New Zealand will be able to make it out of Group B with first place in hand, before also going on to beat whichever Group C graduate they might face in the quarterfinals.
In fact, a favourable group means that the Kiwis aren’t likely to be truly tested until the semis, with a place in the final a firm possibility for the reigning champions, who warmed up for the competition with a 50-0 drubbing of the Cook Islands last week.
Call it presumptuous, but one could say that Australia’s entire World Cup campaign rests on how they fare against England in their opening encounter.
Easily the most difficult fixture of their Group A trials, a win would mean the path is set for the Kangaroos to glide their way to the final, although a meeting with Samoa, France or even England again could upset it.
NRL talent is thriving as well as ever, and after being stung in last year’s final Tim Sheens will be eager to set the record straight, reminding the world who is the ruling power in rugby league.
With the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Andrew Fifita bolstering their ranks substantially, the Aussies have arguably the finest squad heading into the tournament and are likely to show a bit of flair en route to the decider, before eventually going on to win the whole thing.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?