The Rugby League World Cup may only a couple of days old but a quarter-final spot is essentially up for grabs as Fiji and Ireland clash for third spot in Group A.
With Australia and England expected to finish in the top two spots, it’s potentially an all or nothing encounter in Rochdale with Fiji 1/7 favourites and Ireland the 9/2 outsiders.
The 2008 edition of the World Cup could be a good guide for Monday night’s clash at Spotland, with the Fijians running out 30-14 winners on the Gold Coast to book a semi-final spot.
It is hard to see anything other than a repeat of that result as the Pacific Islanders, led by front-row legend Petero Civoniceva, look far too strong for the Wolfhounds.
The Fiji side is littered with NRL talent all over the park and typically they have plenty of try-scoring power out wide in the form of electric wingers Akuila Uate and Marika Koroivbete.
If the Irish cannot match their opponents upfront it could be a tough night for Mark Aston’s side and 10/11 on Fiji at -14 on the handicap betting could be well worth backing.
Despite favouring the Bati for a big win, underdogs Ireland have plenty of fire-power out on the wings to cause a few problems of their own.
Pat Richards, 140 tries in 183 Super League games, and fellow wide man Damien Blanch, 73 tries in 120 Super League encounters, certainly know their way to the whitewash.
With Ireland expected to make a fast start, Wigan star Richards is excellent value to score the first try of the match at 12/1.
For those of you confident the 2010 Super League Man of Steel will get his name on the score sheet at any point during the 80 minutes, he is 5/4 to be an anytime tryscorer with Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.