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Rugby League World Cup: Quarter-finals preview

With the group stage done and dusted all eyes are now on the quarter-final fixtures at the Rugby League World Cup.

The pre-tournament title contenders came through their groups with flying colours and now no side can afford any mistakes in the knockout stages.

A case of how many for reigning champions

WhatAustralia v Lebanon
WhereJohn Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield
When19:30, Friday 4th November 2022
How to watchBBC Three
OddsAustralia 1/500, Lebanon 50/1

In what looks set to be the most one-sided of the quarter-finals, reigning champions Australia take on Lebanon in Huddersfield to kick off the knockout stages.

The Kangaroos breezed through their group as expected, with Fiji, Italy and Scotland way off the pace in comparison.

Australia scored an impressive 192 points in their three group games, with only hosts England scoring more in the pool stage.

Head coach Mal Meninga’s side will be looking to rack up another high score against a Lebanon side who have done well to reach this stage of the competition.

Lebanon earned themselves wins over both Ireland and Jamaica to reach the knockout stages, which would have been their minimal goal before the start of the delayed tournament.

However, it looks like Friday night in Huddersfield is where the World Cup journey will end for Lebanon, with Australia at 10/11 to win with a -42.5 handicap.

England looking for PNG revenge

WhatEngland v Papua New Guinea
WhereDW Stadium, Wigan
When14:30, Saturday 5th November 2022
How to watchBBC One
OddsEngland 1/25, Papua New Guinea 9/1

It might be coming up to three years ago, but some of these England players will still remember their defeat in Great Britain jerseys to Papua New Guinea in 2019.

A 28-10 defeat in Port Moresby was a big shock on the international stage and the likes of Tom Burgess and Elliott Whitehead will possibly be looking for revenge against PNG on Saturday.

The hosts go into the game on the back of a 94-4 thrashing of Greece in Sheffield, while PNG dispatched Wales 36-0 to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

England boss Shaun Wane will certainly not take a win in his hometown of Wigan for granted this weekend.

The former Wigan Warriors head coach has confirmed he already knows his side for the weekend but was keeping his cards close to his chest on selection.

Saturday’s game will pose England’s toughest test of the tournament to date but the home side are still 10/11 to win with a -22.5 handicap.

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Fireworks expected in Hull

WhatNew Zealand v Fiji
WhereMKM Stadium, Hull
When19:30, Saturday 5th November 2022
How to watchBBC Two
OddsNew Zealand 1/100, Fiji 16/1

A mouthwatering clash is expected in Hull on Saturday night as New Zealand take on Fiji at the MKM Stadium.

Fiji will be hoping they can cause a big upset against the Kiwis in a clash between two sides who can create tries from all over the park.

The Fijians secured a 30-14 win over Scotland to secure second place in their pool behind pre-tournament favourites Australia.

As expected, New Zealand had little trouble getting past Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland in their group.

Scoring an average of 50 points a game in the groups, the Kiwis will take some stopping to be denied a place in the semi-finals.

Bragging rights and semi-final spot up for grabs

WhatTonga v Samoa
WhereHalliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
When14:30, Sunday 6th November 2022
How to watchBBC Two
OddsTonga 8/15, Samoa 6/4

Expect another physical contest, with bragging rights also on the line, as Tonga take on fellow Pacific Islanders Samoa in Warrington.

Samoa have recovered well after a 60-6 defeat to hosts England in their opening game when they looked undercooked at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

Meanwhile, with three wins from three, Tonga impressed in Pool D to finish ahead of PNG at the top of the table.

This match is shaping up to be the closest contests of all four quarter-finals and both sides will be confident they can continue their World Cup journey beyond the weekend.

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