The Rugby League World Cup continues this weekend with the second set of group stage fixture being played out.
England will be on the search for their first win of the campaign as they face Ireland whilst tonight New Zealand face France.
New Zealand v France (Friday)
The first match of the weekend sees reigning World Cup champions New Zealand take on France in Group B’s fixture in Avignon.
Both sides recorded opening wins in the tournament, with the Kiwis breezing past Samoa 42-24 whilst France came past Papua New Guinea by the narrowest of margins, 9-8.
New Zealand will be without Thomas Leuluai due to a groin injury whilst key man Sonny Bill Williams has been rested.
Manu Vatuvei, who scored a hat-trick against Samoa last week, also misses out after picking up knocks to his knee and ankle which means Jason Nightingale and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck come into the team.
France have also made a couple of team changes with Cyril Stacul and Antoni Maria coming in for Clint Greenshields and William Barthau.
Kick-off is at 8pm and you can catch all the action live on Premier Sports.
England v Ireland (Saturday)
England will be desperate to make up for last weekend’s opening day defeat to Australia with a big win against Ireland on Saturday afternoon.
Steve McNamara’s men kept the Aussies honest on Saturday and pushed them all the way to the finish but in the end didn’t quite have enough.
England are without the suspended Sam Burgess following an incident in the 28-20 defeat and Wigan pair Josh Charnley and Lee Mossop are both left out.
Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin comes into the fold, as does James Briscoe and Leeds Rhinos’ Tom Briscoe.
England are huge favourites for victory at the John Smith’s in Huddersfield, with Betfred providing the best price at 1/200. It would be one of the upsets in World Cup history if the Irish managed to get a win from the game, and that is reflected in the betting prices, with Paddy Power offering the best odds of 80/1.
This match is live on BBC One and Premier Sports from 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Australia v Fiji
The other Group A fixture follows at 8pm as Australia take on table-toppers Fiji in St. Helens.
Fiji recorded a commanding 32-14 win over Ireland in Rochdale on Monday night but will face a much tougher task against tournament favourites Australia on Saturday.
You can catch this game live on Premier Sports, who will also be providing live coverage of Sunday’s games: Wales v USA from 2pm and Scotland v Italy from 4pm.
Then on Monday it’s Papua New Guinea v Samoa from Group B and on Tuesday Tonga take on the Cook Islands, both games kicking off at 8pm.
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