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Rugby League World Cup 2017 Tournament Preview and Tips - Australia set to defend World Cup title

Andrew Hendrie 8 May 2017
  • RLWC tips
  • Australia start as huge favourites
Australia celebrate during their win over New Zealand in May's ANZAC Test

Australia will start as overwhelming favourites to secure an 11th Rugby League World Cup when the 2017 competition takes place between October and December.

A smorgasbord of international rugby league will eventuate at the end of the year as the 15th instalment of the Rugby League World Cup is held. Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will play host to the World Cup - the first time in history that three countries have hosted the competition.

Of those 15 World Cups, Australia have captured the silverware on a whopping 11 occasions, including eight of the last nine tournaments dating back to 1975.

And when you take into account the latest internationals that were played over the May 5-7 weekend, you couldn’t possibly tip anyone else but defending champions Australia to once again emerge triumphant.

Remaining loyal with his victorious Four Nations team from last season, Mal Meninga’s Australian team were supremely dominant over New Zealand in the ANZAC Test, racing out to a 30-0 lead after 45 minutes before cruising to a 30-12 win.

Rugby League World Cup Fixtures and Dates

It was Australia’s fifth straight victory over New Zealand dating back to last year’s Four Nations and ANZAC Test, with four of those wins being decided by a margin greater of 13+.

Considering New Zealand are the closest thing Australia have to a rivalry in rugby league circles, it doesn’t appear too likely that the Kangaroos are going to have too much opposition when it comes to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

England are the clear third favourites for the Rugby League World Cup behind Australia and New Zealand, and the Poms could very well be a more dangerous threat to Australia by the time the competition rolls around, especially after their big 30-10 win over Samoa.

Although, it must be said, New Zealand traditionally perform much better when they’re in a tournament setting and have had time to form combinations and gel as a unit. The Kiwis enjoyed a 17-16 win over England in their last meeting during the 2016 Four Nations.


Then we have the Pacific Island nations, led by Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea. All of these teams have a lot of potential, but it’s tough for them to click as they normally don’t have enough time to prepare. Tonga beat Fiji 26-24 on the weekend, while Papua New Guinea overcame the Cook Islands 32-22 and Samoa lost to England by 20 points.

Last year’s quarter-finalists France, Scotland and the USA are also teams to watch, with each expected to have a few NRL players involved, while the likes of Lebanon and Italy are returning for just their second World Cup in 2017.

But really, you can’t look past Australia. The Kangaroos have long been dominant in Rugby World Cups, and playing at home in 2017, they are expected to be even more formidable. New Zealand are always in with a chance and England will go down fighting, but Australia are in a different class, and they should add a 12th World Cup to their trophy cabinet.


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Rugby League World Cup 2017 Tournament Preview and Tips - Australia set to defend World Cup title

Australia will start as overwhelming favourites to secure an 11th Rugby League World Cup when the 2017 competition takes place between October and December.

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