Everything you need to know – England v Samoa
Hosts England get the Rugby League World Cup underway against Samoa on Saturday.
Coach Shaun Wane will be looking to go one better than England managed in 2017, when they were beaten by Australia in the final.
However, they face a stern test in the opening game of the tournament against a Samoa side buoyed by a plethora of top NRL talent.
Samoa join Tonga as genuine contenders to win the tournament and end the monopoly of the big three, that also includes New Zealand.
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
- England v Samoa
- Date: Saturday 15th October
- Kick-off time: 2.30pm
- Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle
- Group A
England v Samoa team news
England 19-man squad: 1 Sam Tomkins, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Herbie Farnworth, 6 Jack Welsby, 7 George Williams 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Michael McIlorum, 10 Luke Thompson, 11 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Victor Radley, 14 Dom Young, 15 Morgan Knowles, 16 Matty Lees, 17 Mike Cooper, 18 Chris Hill, 20 Mike McMeeken, 21 Marc Sneyd, 24 Kai Pearce-Paul.
Samoa 19-man squad: 1 Joseph Suaalii, 4 Stephen Crichton, 5 Brian To’o, 6 Jarome Luai, 7 Anthony Milford, 8 Josh Papalii, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Junior Paulo, 12 Jayden Su’a, 13 Josh Aloiai, 14 Tyrone May, 16 Spencer Leniu, 17 Martin Taupa’u, 18 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 20 Chanel Harris-Tavita, 22 Kelma Tuilagi, 23 Oregon Kaufusi, 24 Braden Hamlin-Uele.
What the two camps are saying
England back-rower Elliott Whitehead: “It’s a tough task against Samoa but we know what this group is capable of. It will be a great atmosphere up at St James’ and two great teams going up against each other, it should be a good spectacle to start the World Cup. If there’s 45,000 there, we know 44,500 are cheering for England.”
Samoa coach Matt Parish: “We’re under-done for the first game. England played a trial match while our boys were all on a plane. If you look at the teams that are competing, it’s by far the strongest World Cup ever, the most even, and it’s exciting to be part of. We’ve got some confidence but got some work to do to. It’s a big occasion and we need to rise to it.”
How can I watch the game on TV?
Every game across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cup tournaments is being broadcast by the BBC.
The big kick-off between England and Samoa is live on BBC One from 2.30pm, with live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
The match will also be available to view on the BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport mobile app.
Odds and predictions
England go in to the game as underdogs according to Planet Sport Bet, who have Samoa as third favourites to win the World Cup and 8/11 favourites to win the opening match.
If you fancy backing England, they are priced at 5/4 with a draw 20/1. Samoa to win by 1-12 points is 2/1.
The success of the whole tournament could hinge on this one – a win for England sets the tone, a defeat might well cause ticket headaches for organisers further down the line.
It’s hard to look past the talent in the Samoa line-up, in spite of England’s home advantage, and I fancy Matt Parish’s side to win it by a try or two.