The Rugby League World Cup kicked off yesterday with wins for both Australia and Italy, and today, tournament contenders New Zealand are in action.
The Kiwis take on Samoa in Group B whilst preceding that match, Papua New Guinea face France.
Papua New Guinea v France
France will hope to make up for their pre-tournament friendly defeat to the United States last Friday with a winning start to this year’s World Cup, as they face Papua New Guinea.
PNG lost all three of their Group games in the 2008 World Cup, finishing bottom of Group A. Recent Hull KR signings Neville Costigan and Enoch Maki will play at their club’s new ground although fellow teammate Francis Paniu is not available.
France, ranked fourth in the Rugby League world rankings, are favourites to take victory, with Paddy Power providing the best odds of 4/6. The best price on a Papua New Guinea win comes from Ladbrokes at 13/8.
You can watch this game live from 4pm on Premier Sports.
New Zealand v Samoa
The game of the day tomorrow follows at 6pm as defending champions New Zealand take on Samoa in the other Group B match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.
The Kiwis will be confident of getting their tournament off to a good start and former Rugby Union World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams will feature in their defence.
Sam Moa and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are both set for their New Zealand debuts whilst, the latter being preferred to Jason Nightingale.
Samoa will be without second row forward and captain Harrison Hansem, the Wigan player failing to have recovered from a leg injury sustained is last weekend’s 52-16 defeat to England Knights.
They are also without centre Tim Lafai, who is suspended for one match after punching in Saturday’s defeat to the Knights.
This game is also live on Premier Sports.
This Week’s Games
Monday night’s game sees 2008 semi-finalists Fiji take on Ireland at Spotland, Rochdale, in the second Group A game.
Then on Tuesday evening, Tonga face Scotland at Derwent Park in Workington in Group C. Tonga finished seventh in the 2008 World Cup, defeating the Scots 48-0 in the seventh place play-off.
Finally on Wednesday, the United States play the Cook Islands in Group D’s first game, at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol. This is USA’s first appearance in the competition whilst Cook Islands only appearance came in 2000.
All these week night games kick-off at 8pm and are live on Premier Sports.
Don’t forget, you can claim free bets with Bet 365 by clicking HERE.