Rugby League World Cup Final: Powerful England to keep it tight v Australia

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Saturday evening sees the Rugby League World Cup Final  between Australia and England at the Suncorp Arena, Queensland.

Not too many World Cup finals would see such odds stacked heavily in the favour of one side. But that’s what we’ve got here.

Australia are the hot favourites to win at just 1/7. England are huge underdogs at 6/1. You can back the tie at 33/1.

What we have here, in reality, is a David v Goliath scenario. And that’s simply because Australia are the best team in the world by a distance. Not to mention the fact that they also have home advantage.

The Kangaroos strolled through to this stage conceding just 16 points on their way. Two of those games they won to nil.

In fact, England were the only side to keep the score down, losing in the opening Pool game by just 14 points.

Wayne Bennett’s squad have had a more difficult route to navigate. Not least in the semi-final where Tonga gave them an almighty fright before eventually winning 20-18.

Australia also have history on their side when it comes to clashes with England. In 17 previous meetings, the Roos have won 14, drawn 1, and lost just twice.

And it gets a little worse for England, too. Bennett has lost star Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson to injury. St Helen’s James Roby steps into the breach.

The 32-year-old veteran is just one of two players in the England squad – along with captain Sean O’Loughlin – who’ve beaten the Aussies before.

Australia have made no changes and will start with the same 11 who’ve started the last three games.

England are going to have to rely on a strong defensive game here. Bennett’s men are a physically huge side and use that strength – particularly in defence – to good effect.

This game should boil to whether England can keep it tight going into the latter stages of the final.

The Handicap Line has been set at +/-18. England would have come out on top in that market in the Pool opener.

You can back England at +18 here at 10/11. Ominously, though, Australia beat New Zealand in the 2013 final by a margin of 32 points.

Let’s hope for a great game – and England to keep it relatively close.

Click here for the latest Rugby League World Cup odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.