World Cup Round 2: Five things to look forward to

Samoa will take on Tonga in a huge crunch clash

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup got underway last week but the Round 2 fixtures are even more appetising.

Australia get the second round of the World Cup started this weekend as they take on France on Friday at the Canberra Stadium.

LEBANON’S EXCITING RUGBY

Many people expected the Cedars to be the whipping boys of Group A but they caused a shock last weekend as they beat France 29-18 in what was a thriller of a game and arguably, the most exciting of the games that took place in Round 1.

Next up for Lebanon is a clash with England on Saturday and the Three Lions are the favourites to take the spoils but Lebanon shouldn’t be underestimated with the likes of Mitchell Moses and Robbie Farah in the halves. They played entertaining footy last weekend which probably caught France by surprise and the game on Saturday is eagerly anticipated.

CAN ENGLAND BOUNCE BACK?

We all know that England went down to a 18-4 defeat to Australia in the opening game of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup last week but the scoreline flattered the Kangaroos. It was 10-4 for a large part of the game, with England a sub down due to Sam Burgess leaving the field and not returning with a medial ligament injury.

But Wayne Bennett’s England outfit certainly matched the Kangaroos in the game and certainly showed improvements from last year. England face a tough Lebanon side but they have got what it takes to bounce back and their 1-17 is strong this year whereas in the past, there have been a couple of weak points in the team.

THE MESSI AND RONALDO OF RUGBY LEAGUE

“Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, it’s like Messi and Ronaldo.” That’s how France ace Remy Marginet described the prospect of playing against Australia captain Cameron Smith and star player Billy Slater in Friday’s clash. And to be fair to Marginet, that is probably one of the best descriptions used in Rugby League for quite a while.

The Melbourne Storm duo were sensational last week when the Kangaroos edged past Engand. It will be the last World Cup for Smith and Slater, but unlike some players do when they get older, they have not declined a single bit.

THE BATTLE OF THE PACK

Samoa take on Tonga on Saturday and it is arguably, the most appetising game of the weekend because there will be a lot of heavy collisions, with both sides having huge packs on paper. But, who will come out on top?

Tonga are slight favourites to win the game, with Samoa heavily losing to New Zealand last weekend while Tonga crushed Scotland. But Samoa will certainly be up for the challenge and if you are going to watch one other game apart from England this weekend, make sure it is Samoa v Tonga because it will be explosive and most of all, entertaining because the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Sika Manu and Andrew Fifita will be coming up against Junior Paulo, Josh Papalii and Frank Pritchard.

CAN IRELAND CAUSE AN UPSET IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA?

Papua New Guinea eased past Wales last weekend in Port Moresby and they welcome Ireland to the country on Sunday, but Ireland boast a very strong squad, full of Super League experience. Some are wondering though if anyone can beat Papua New Guinea in Papua New Guinea as the crowd really get behind their home nation.

Ireland pulled off a superb victory against Italy last weekend and the one thing that grabbed the attention of journalists and fans alike was how well they played as a team rather than individuals doing all the work. It is set to be a cracker on Sunday in Port Moresby.

Who are you tipping in the Round 2 games this weekend? Let us know in the comments below. 

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