If the semi-final matches go to form England will play Australia in the final of the Rugby League World Cup. The Aussies are 24 points favourites in their match against Fiji but England are only marginally preferred by the bookmakers in the tie with Tonga. England or Great Britain have never won the World Cup and it will take a huge effort to beat Tonga and then defeat the host country in the final.
Australia have played Fiji in six full internationals and won each match. In those fixtures Australia have scored 366 points and conceded 24. That equates to an average winning margin of 57 points. Fiji have made strides in international rugby league since the latest defeat in the 2008 World Cup and beat New Zealand earlier in this tournament. Fiji should improve on their average of four points against Australia in all the previous meetings but face a decisive loss. However, the handicap line looks to have been pitched too high.
Australia have a 100% record in the tournament to date and have scored 150 points and conceded just 10. They have achieved an average winning margin of 35 points which is lower than their historical dominance over Fiji. That side have also won all four matches by an average of 32 points. They beat New Zealand 4-2 in the quarter-finals in the lowest scoring match in the history of the tournament. Australia will beat Fiji but the 24 points handicap is too big so Fiji are the bet in this market. Both coaches have named unchanged squads for the match in Brisbane on Friday.
England play Tonga as favourites in Auckland the following day which is akin to an away fixture. The teams have met twice and England won both fixtures. The favourites are third in the current rugby league world rankings, eight places above their opponents in this match. England have played in five previous semi-finals and only progressed to the final on two occasions and have lost the last three. Tonga have never played in the elimination rounds at a World Cup.
England lost the opening match in this year’s tournament to Australia by 14 points. They have won their other three fixtures scoring 101 points and conceding 22, which equates to an average winning margin of over 26 points. Tonga have won each fixture by an average of over 19 points. Statistically disregarding England’s first match they have performed six points better than Tonga. The bet is England to win the match in a double with Fiji with a 24 points start and this pays almost 9/4.