With the 2021 Rugby League World Cup on the horizon I thought be fun to have a go and see how the group stage will play out.
May be a shock to some but I have Samoa topping this group in fact Samoa have a genuine chance of winning the whole tournament if their best squad is picked Roger Tuivasa Sheck has pegged me may play for his country of birth before he goes to Rugby, Jarome Luai, Brian To'o, Josh Papali'li and Junior Paulo all have pledged allegiance to Samoa. Luai paired with Dylan Brown and Samoa have a genuine halves pairing most tier 2 nations lack . Hosts England and runners up last world cup will be contenders the British players in Australia haven't played well but still England still be good enough to advance I fear they can't match it with Samoa in the forwards and even more troubling they lost to an All-star team. France have been going well as both French teams are topping the two tiers of Enlgish Rugby League. Greece on their debut who hoping on some reserve grade players form the Rabbitohs but don't have the talent to match it with other teams in the group.
Australia first not too much to discuss, Fiji made semi finals last 3 world cups, will have a quality back likes of Villame Kikau, Simms and Saifiti (potentially) Brothers Regan Campbell Gillard and powerful backs like Maika Sivo and Makale Ravalawawa with dynamic Ali Korosau Fiji will rely heavily on Brandon Wakeham at halfback. Scotland will can boast some quality backs like Lachlan Coote, Matty Russell, Euan Aitken and Campbell Graham ans possibly Stephen Critchon, question marks in the forwards though. Italy will no doubt won't have their best player James Tedesco as his will be picked for Australia, however their pack should be nice Nathan Browne Paul Vaughan Jack John's. Don't like their attacking options be a boost of Oliver Gildart can play for them.
NZ well be first no doubt. Lebanon who just lost to Tonga in quarters finals last world. Cup. Looking to improve they will need their NRL to play Mitchell Moses and Adam Douehi form a very good halves pairing Josh Mansour and maybe Jason Saab could add strike to their backline, Alex Twal will lead a promising young forward pack. Ireland with plenty of super league players and won 2 games last tournament, they lack the class shame Luke Keary is injured and Kodi Nikorima wont be available . Jamaica on debut as well, hopefully Kallum Watkins and Ashton Golding play for them be a boost but will be weakest team on paper.
Tonga first no surprises, PNG Cook Islands a toss up I doubt Cook Islands have their best players available (Valentine Holmes, Joey Manu Charnze Nicol. Kloksats and Jordan Rapana, so PNG should so they get the edge. Wales can call upon Caleb Aitkens from Canberra to add with the wingers of Regan Grace and Rhys Williams have plenty of try's on them.
What are your thoughts and where am I right or wrong.