Saturday 23 November 2013

#RLWC2013 Semi Final Predictions for Wembley World Cup Double Header

No stopping Kiwis and Roos in Semi Finals... right?

2013 Rugby League World Cup

By W D Nicolson - November 23, 2013

The locals may want to see England advance to a home World Cup Final - but Australia and New Zealand are about to prove they are a class above in International Rugby League.

Tonight at Wembley Stadium - World Cup title holders New Zealand take on England and then in the second game of the Semi Final double header, Australia play Fiji. The winners will face each other at Old Trafford next weekend in the World Cup Final.

Here's's quick hit thoughts on both games.

1st Semi Final - 12:00am Sunday Morning (Sydney time) 
J Hoffman, J Nightingale, B Goodwin, D Whare, R Tuivasa-Sheck, K Foran, S Johnson, J Bromwich, I Luke, J Waerea-Hargreaves, SB Williams, E Taylor, S Mannering (c). FP Nuuausala, B Matulino, S Moa, S Kasiano, A Glenn. (F Pritchard withdrew after being named)
ENGLAND (Likely)
S Tomkins, R Hall, L Cudjoe, K Watkins, J Charnley, K Sinfield (c), G Widdop, J Graham, J Roby, C Hill, S Burgess, B Westwood, S O'Loughlin. G Burgess, R Burrow, B Ferres, L Farrell, L Mossop, C Ablett.
IN SHORT: New Zealand will get a good tune-up for the Cup Final against the English but the Poms just haven't looked likely bar their opening 25 minutes in the first game against Australia. And if you recall England blew that lead by halftime and trailed by 8 points. New Zealand will play attacking footy and force the English to fight fire with fire instead of it being a game played exclusively between the forward packs. The Kiwis know their best chance of beating Australia is to be firing on all attacking cylinders to shock the Kangaroos - so their approach to this Semi Final will be to blow the English away early. Can England chase points? Well any team can... but they won't be wanting to and will try to force New Zealand into playing through the middle - not an easy task with Williams, Foran and Johnson in the Kiwi lineup.
Prediction: New Zealand 30 def. England 12.

2nd Semi Final - 2:30am Sunday Morning (Sydney time)
G Inglis, B Morris, J Hayne, B Tate, D Boyd, J Thurston, C Cronk, M Scott, C Smith (c), J Tamou, G Bird, S Thaiday, P Gallen. D Cherry-Evans, J Papalii, A Fifita, C Parker, N Myles, R Farah.
FIJI (Likely)
K Naiqama, M Koroibete, S Waqa, W Naiqama, A Uate, D Millard, A Groom, A Sims, J Storer, P Civoniceva (c), T Sims, J Bukuya, E Vunakece. A Koroisau, J Roqica, K Evans, S Radradra, P Botiki, J Storer.
IN SHORT: You want to give Fiji some hope but it was clear when these two teams played in the Group stage that Australia did it easy. Not that Fiji didn't put in the effort to try and cause the monster upset but they just don't have the playmakers to make the most of Uate, Koroibete, Waqa and the Naiqama brothers. They'll have a crack but they'll be well beaten by fulltime and Australia will march into the decider. HUGE game for Brent Tate - he wanted his chance to show he's a difference maker in this game but if he's average then Sheens may give Slater his chance (not 100% fit) or give Jennings or Morris another crack in the decider. Because Sheens has to know that if there's a weak spot in the Australian team - NZ will be in a position to expose it. For Fiji - back to back World Cup Semi Finals is a great achievement but the dream ends here.
PredictionAustraila 42 def. Fiji 4.

So we've got New Zealand v Australia in the World Cup Final and only England have a chance to change that seemingly inevitable eventuality... right?

Do you expect England to push New Zealand or in fact beat them? And can Fiji get across the tryline against Australia?
Let us know by commenting below or replying on Twitter.

Listen to the GF Review Podcast here
James Maloney won the #NRLTweetPlayerofFinals Award and the Grand Final Man of the Match after his Roosters defeated Manly 26-18 in The Decider. You can hear the full voting results and Grand Final cap with Waz and Maria on Episode 145 of NOT The Footy Show - the Grand Final Review Podcast.

You can subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on iTunes - not sure if or when we'll be back on air again, but live in hope okay?