The time has finally come and the 2013 Rugby League World Cup will take place throughout October and November and we provide you with an extensive guide to the tournament.
On this page we will give you our predictions and tips on who will go well this year and most importantly who will walk away with the trophy at the end of November.
Jason Nightingale of New Zealand dives over to score. (Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup will be the fourteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup tournament and will be hosted by England and Wales with matches also to be held in France and Ireland.
Fourteen teams will contest this year’s instalment and they are; Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Wales, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Cook Islands, Italy and the United States.
The Australian Kangaroos team pose for a team photo. (Matt King/Getty Images)
New Zealand are the defending champions, having defeated Australia in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup final. This will be the first time Italy and USA will be involved in the tournament.
Papua New Guinea
After the group stages the winners of Groups A, B, C and D will qualify for the quarter-finals alongside the runners-up in A and B and third place in the same two groups.
Here is a brief look at all the competing teams and how we think they will go. (All odds are with William Hill
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England – 6/1
Coach Steve McNamara
England are third favourites to win the competition and despite the tournament being on home soil for Steve McNamara’s men there is not a lot of optimism surrounding their chances. Not many fans have faith in McNamara’s squad choices especially with the decision to name New Zealand born Rangi Chase as well as putting captain Kevin Sinfield in the halves when there are clearly better choices around. A friendly defeat at the hands of Italy will not have helped matters, but once the tournament gets going we are sure England will be a different animal.
Prediction: There are certain to qualify for the quarter-finals because of the way the group has been structured with three going through from Group A. We think they will make it to the final but won’t win the World Cup.
Sam Tomkins of England is tackled by James Tedesco of Italy. (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Australia – 1/3
Coach Tim Sheens
Unfortunately we cannot see any further past Australia in terms of who will win the competition – They will still be fuming by the way they lost the 2008 World Cup Final to New Zealand last time out. The Aussies don’t like losing at anything so they will do all they can to wrestle back the famous trophy. With the likes of Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Jonathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk in their ranks they will be almost impossible to stop.
Prediction: Winners simple as that
Fiji – 150/1
Coach Rick Stone
Fiji will no doubt bring some flair to the tournament and won’t give up without a fight, but unfortunately they could end up being the whipping boys in Group A. If they manage to turn over Ireland then they could qualify for the quarter-finals but it is a long shot. Their squad has plenty of experience with the likes of Petero Civoniceva, Daryl Millard and Ashton Sims but they will not be able to keep up with the likes of England and Australia.
Prediction: An outside chance of reaching the quarter-finals but we don’t actually see them winning a single game.
Ireland – 500/1
Coach Mark Aston
They should qualify for the quarter-finals by picking up just one win against Fiji when they lock horns with them at Rochdale. We cannot see them getting any further than the quarters.
Prediction: Quarter-finals at the most
Papua New Guinea – 300/1
Coach Adrian Lam
PNG fared quite well in group stages back in the 2008 World Cup when they were in the same group as New Zealand, Australia and England. This time around they have got a better chance as they are in a group with New Zealand, Samoa and France. They will qualify for the quarter-finals in second place.
Prediction: If they finish second they could face Ireland in the quarter-finals and they will be too strong for the Irish so expect a semi-final spot for the Kumuls.
The Kumuls celebrate a try. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
New Zealand – 4/1
Coach Stephen Kearney
They should have no problems in finishing top of Group B and will more than likely play Scotland or Italy in the quarters then face England in the semis and that is when they will relinquish their hold of the World Cup.
France – 200/1
Coach Richard Agar
A couple of weeks ago I would have said that France would have been a shoe-in to finish second behind the Kiwis, but following defeat to USA recently they will struggle to qualify. They should do at the expense of Samoa.
Prediction: Quarter-finals before getting dumped out by England.
Samoa – 125/1
Coach Matt Parish
The whipping boys of Group B we feel. They do have a very experienced captain in Harrison Hansen and some quality names like Roy Asotasi, David Fa’alogo and Sia Soliola but we just don’t think they have the quality to trouble New Zealand, France of PNG.
Prediction: Bottom of Group B
Tonga – 100/1
Coach Charlie Tonga
Anyone who has a coach with the same surname as the country he is leading is aces in our book, but unfortunately that is where the fun ends. They have some experienced campaigners with Glen Fisi’iahi, Wilie Manu and Fuifui Moimoi but with only one team qualifying we don’t think it will be Tonga.
Prediction: Campaign ends after group stages
Etu Uaisele of Tonga leads the team haka. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Scotland – 500/1
Coach Steve McCormack
Scotland will be led by Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough and if he continues the form he has shown for Huddersfield Giants this season then the Bravehearts could cause a few shocks. They should top the group and will probably face New Zealand in the quarter-finals and will then be knocked out.
Prediction: Quarter-finals but will give it a good go.
Italy – 500/1
Coach Carlo Napolitano
Italy caused a massive shock in the world of international rugby league with a stunning 15-14 win over England the week before the start of the tournament to give themselves plenty of belief. All eyes will be on them now but with only one qualifying from Group C we think they will come up just short.
Prediction: Won’t qualify from group stages
Italian players celebrate after winning the International match between England and Italy. (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Wales – 500/1
Coach Iestyn Harris
Wales open up their campaign in a cross-over group C.D match with Italy at the Millennium Stadium and if they get through that test then they should go onto make the quarter-finals. They will then probably meet Australia and will go no further.
Prediction: Quarter-finals and bow out gracefully to Australia
USA – 1000/1
Coach Terry Matterson
As you can see by their odds they are not being given a cat in hells chance of doing anything remotely interesting in this World Cup and we agree. Despite picking up a shock win over France in a recent friendly we think they will flatter to deceive and be on the wrong end of some hidings.
Prediction: Group stages and back home
Cook Islands – 300/1
Coach – David Farleigh
They will finish second to Wales in Group D and therefore fail to reach the quarter-finals. They have some experienced players in their squad like Anthony Gelling, Zeb Taia and Keith Lulia but there are a lot of inexperienced ones as well.
Prediction: Group stages and home
2013 RLWC Fixtures:
26 October: Australia v England (14:30) Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
28 October: Fiji v Ireland (20:00) Spotland Stadium, Rochdale
2 November: England v Ireland (14:30) John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield
2 November: Australia v Fiji (20:00) Langtree Park, St Helens
9 November: England v Fiji (14:30) KC Stadium, Hull
9 November: Australia v Ireland (20:00) Thomand Park, Limerick
27 October: Papua New Guinea v France (16:00) Craven Park, Hull
27 October: New Zealand v Samoa (18:00) Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
1 November: New Zealand v France (20:00) Parc des Sports, Avignon
4 November: Papua New Guinea v Samoa (20:00) Craven Park, Hull
8 November: New Zealand v Papua New Guinea (20:00) Headingley Carnegie, Leeds
11 November: France v Samoa (20:00) Stade Gilbert Brutus; Perpignan
29 October: Tonga v Scotland (20:00) Derwent Park, Workington
3 November: Scotland v Italy (16:00) Derwent Park, Workington
10 November: Tonga v Italy (16:00) Shay Stadium, Halifax
30 October: United States v Cook Islands (20:00) Memorial Park; Bristol
3 November: Wales v United States (14:00) Racecourse Ground; Wrexham
10 November: Wales v Cook Islands (14:00) The Gnoll; Neath
Teams in Groups C and D will play an additional inter-group match during the group stage.
26 October: Wales v Italy (16:30) Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
5 November: Tonga v Cook Islands (20:00) Leigh Sports Village, Leigh
7 November: Scotland v United States (20:00) Salford City Stadium, Salford
15 November: Winner Group B v Winner Group C (20:00) Headingley Carnegie, Leeds
16 November: Winner A v Winner D (13:00) Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
16 November: Runner up A v Third-place B (20:00) DW Stadium, Wigan
17 November: Runner up B v Third-place A (15:00) Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
23 November: Winner Quarter-Final 1 v Winner Quarter-Final 3 (13:00) Wembley Stadium, London
23 November: Winner Quarter-Final 2 v Winner Quarter-Final 4 (15:30) Wembley Stadium, London
30 November: Winner Semi-Final 1 v Winner Semi-Final 2 (14:30) Old Trafford, Manchester