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England vs Tonga Rugby League World Cup Preview and Team News - Tonga target upset win over England

Andrew Hendrie 22 Nov 2017
  • England face Tonga in the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday
  • Tonga appearing in first World Cup semi-final
  • England haven't reached the World Cup final since 1995
England and Tonga meet on Saturday

England and Tonga collide on Saturday in Auckland at Mt Smart Stadium as the two nations battle it out for a spot in the Rugby League World Cup final.

Can England stop the fairytale run of Tonga at the World Cup and reach a first final in the competition since 1995?

England have been the clear second-best team in the World Cup throughout the group stage and quarter-finals, but Tonga are the underdogs everyone is cheering for, and they will be well up for the biggest game in the nation’s history.

Papua New Guinea asked plenty of questions to England in the quarter-finals, but the Poms were up to the test and in the end emerged comfortable victors.

However they will face a bigger challenge on Saturday - and they must be ready to combat a side that arguably seems destined to reach the final.

Tonga came crashing back down to earth last weekend against Lebanon after their emotional triumph over New Zealand, but they still managed to get the job done in what was a nervous performance.

It was a game that Tonga were expected to win easily, which is what contributed to the tense performance, but they will reclaim the underdog status in the semi-finals - making them extremely dangerous.

Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita will need to be at their best for Tonga to prevail, but I think we are in for a much-improved display from the team that edged Lebanon. England have been workmanlike all tournament, but Tonga have a little more ‘X Factor’ that could decide this showdown. Tonga’s defence will have to be strong, but I’m tipping the upset here.

Stats


  • England have won their two previous matches
  • England haven’t made a World Cup final since 1995
  • Tonga are appearing in their first semi-final

Teams


Tonga squad: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. David Fusitu’a 6. Tui Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu (c) 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Sione Katoa 15. Peni Terepo 16. Tevita Pangai Jnr. 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila 18. Sam Moa 19. Manu Vatuvei 20. Joe Ofahengaue 21. Samisoni Langi

England squad: 1. Gareth Widdop 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Kevin Brown 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Thomas Burgess 16. Ben Currie 17. James Roby 18. Jonny Lomax 19. Chris Heighington 20. Mark Percival 21. Scott Taylor


Tips




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England vs Tonga Rugby League World Cup Preview and Team News - Tonga target upset win over England

England and Tonga collide on Saturday in Auckland at Mt Smart Stadium as the two nations battle it out for a spot in the Rugby League World Cup final.

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