The Garry Schofield Column: My prediction for England’s World Cup opener against Samoa

Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into the 50-point margin of England’s win over Fiji last Friday.

But it’s much better than a defeat, and will have given Shaun Wane some welcome pondering over his picks for Saturday’s World Cup opener against Samoa up in Newcastle.

I’m told Dom Young was particularly impressive, while the Salford trio of Kallum Watkins, Marc Sneyd and Andy Ackers also caught the eye, along with Joe Batchelor of St Helens, a player I really like.

This was a case of players putting their hands up and telling Waney: “Here I am.”

Let’s see who gets the nod for what is a really crucial match, since it will set the tone for the tournament and, in theory, allow the winners a more advantageous path in the knockout stages, potentially avoiding Tonga in the quarter-finals.

Samoa are going to be tough opponents, make no mistake, and England are likely going to have to go strong for the full 80 minutes.

I think it’s going to be tight, with a field-goal involved, and I’m tipping England by seven.

In Saturday’s other game, I reckon Fiji are in for a tough evening against Australia at Headingley.

The holders will be looking at those IRL rankings and saying: “Fourth? Let’s see about that!”

Mal Meninga will want his team to put down a marker, and I’d be surprised if they don’t do exactly that.

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