Rugby League World Cup 2013: Early Predictions for the Week Ahead

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Sam Tomkins of England  during the Rugby League World Cup Group A match between England and Ireland at the John Smith's Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Huddersfield, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

This week's Rugby League World Cup fixtures promise to decide just who among the sport's hierarchy will make it to the latter stages of the 2013 tournament.

With Australia, New Zealand and co-hosts England all vying for a spot in the quarter-finals, there's also room for a couple of underdogs to emerge from Groups C and D, although it still remains up for debate as to who those two might be.

With another week of pool encounters on our hands—some looking close, others not so much—here we've predicted the outcomes of each encounter before the quarter-final stage, a few of which stand above the rest in terms of promise.

Rugby League World Cup Predictions For This Week
Monday, Nov. 4Papua New Guinea vs. SamoaMS3 Craven Park, Hull8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET8-32
Tuesday, Nov. 5Tonga vs. Cook IslandsLeigh Sports Village, Leigh8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET28-16
Thursday, Nov. 7Scotland vs. United StatesSalford City Stadium, Salford8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET32-22
Friday, Nov. 8New Zealand vs. Papua New GuineaHeadingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET40-8
Saturday, Nov. 9England vs. FijiKC Stadium, Hull2:30 p.m. GMT/9.30 a.m. ET38-9
Saturday, Nov. 9Australia vs. IrelandThomond Park, Munster8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET36-4
Sunday, Nov. 10Wales vs. Cook IslandsThe Knoll, Neath2 p.m. GMT/9 a.m. ET28-22
Sunday, Nov. 10Tonga vs. ItalyShay Stadium, Halifax4 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET14-12
Monday, Nov. 11France vs. SamoaStade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan9p.m. local time/8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET14-18

Key Fixtures

Scotland vs. United States

Date: Thursday, Nov. 7

The third and final inter-group meeting of this year's World Cup holds a lot for Scotland and the United States, both of whom triumphed in their opening encounters of the competition.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Clint Newton of the USA celebrates their victory with USA fans during the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Group D match between USA and Cook Islands at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2013 in Bristol, England.  (Photo by Christ
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The Scots' two-point win over Tonga last week was an impressive feat of will and determination as far as Steve McCormack will be concerned, while the USA's beating of the Cook Islands also exercised their ability to compete on the international front.

Thursday's meeting between these two sides will go a long way to deciding who comes out on top of Groups C and D, respectively, making it a heavyweight battle between two of the tournament's minnows.

Prediction: Scotland 32-22 United States

England vs. Fiji

Date: Saturday, Nov. 9

England's win over Ireland means that Steve McNamara's side are now, as expected, back in the running to make it to the quarter-finals of the competition, with Fiji the only obstacle remaining.

Although the Fijians' offensive worth was shown in their 32-14 mauling of the Irish, they managed to put just two points past Australia over the weekend.

If the co-hosts can get off the mark quickly at the KC Stadium, Fiji will have no choice but to pursue their running game against England, which will ultimately prove fruitless against Kevin Sinfield's men, who are more than capable of posing a stubborn defence. 

Prediction: England 38-9 Fiji

France vs. Samoa

Date: Monday, Nov. 11

Last but by no means least in the group-stage fixture list of this year's Rugby League World Cup comes the Group B encounter between France and Samoa next week.

In Perpignan, the hosts will be able to rely on a thriving home advantage against a Samoan side that managed to put 24 points past New Zealand in their opening fixture.

In their first two matches, the French have managed to score just nine points and so will need a substantial boost in attack if they're to progress to the quarter-finals, Samoa being superior in both tries scored and points difference.

Prediction: France 14-18 Samoa


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