Rugby League World Cup 2013: Predicting Scores Ahead of Weekend Semifinals

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering, Jesse Bromwich, Alex Glenn and Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand warm up during the New Zealand Training Session at St Mary's University College on November 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

This weekend's Rugby League World Cup semifinals will decide just who from the remaining batch of world powers will advance to Old Trafford's final in the search for silverware and global dominance.

Australia, Fiji, England and New Zealand are the only challengers left from an initial field of 14, forming the contingent that many would have tipped to make it to the last four.

In a case of deja vu, this year's semifinals are an exact replica of those played Down Under five years ago, with many now wondering whether we'll see a repeat of the Australia/New Zealand final that took place in 2008.

2013 Rugby League World Cup Semifinal Predictions
England vs. New ZealandSaturday, Nov. 231 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. ETWembley, LondonEngland 22-32 New Zealand
Australia vs. FijiSaturday, Nov. 233:30 p.m. GMT/10:30 a.m. ETWembley, LondonAustralia 38-8 Fiji


England vs. New Zealand

Steve McNamara's England came up short against Australia in their World Cup opener this year but face a side who—on their day—boast arguably even more potential for destruction this weekend.

The Kiwis are the title holders for a reason, and while their win over Australia in the final of 2008's tournament was a massive surprise, their success since then has been fully deserved.

The only remaining co-hosts left in the tournament will therefore have to be at their defensive best in order to restrain the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Bryson Goodwin and Manu Vatuvei. 

Stephen Kearney's side do have a couple of English stars to keep their eye on, too, though, with Leeds' Ryan Hall currently the competition's top scorer with eight tries.

In truth, this fixture looks incredibly tight, and while England boast home advantage, New Zealand are an offensive machine when playing in fully synchronised fashion.

Prediction: England 22-32 New Zealand


Australia vs. Fiji

In the other re-run of 2008's semifinal action, Australia head into their fixture with Fiji as heavy favourites this Saturday.

That being said, fans will be hoping for a closer meeting than the one that ended 52-0 in the Kangaroos' favour in Sydney.

Though the Fijians were impressive enough to make their way past the quarterfinal clash with Samoa, there's a distinct gap in talent when comparing the Bati's squad to that of Tim Sheens', with Fiji relying too much on certain individuals rather than a strong team.

Expect Akuila Uate to shoulder the brunt of the attacking burden for Fiji, but Australia are a shoo-in to reach their 12th consecutive Rugby League World Cup final.

Prediction: Australia 38-8 Fiji