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World Cup preview: Group B

7464293Squad

FRANCE: Jean Philippe Baile (Catalans Dragons), William Barthau (Catalans Dragons), Andrew Bentley (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Kane Bentley (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Thomas Bosc (Catalans Dragons), Damien Cardace (Catalans Dragons), Remi Casty (Catalans Dragons), Vincent Duport (Catalans Dragons), Olivier Elima (Catalans Dragons), Morgan Escare (Catalans Dragons), Theo Fages (Salford Red Devils), Jamal Fakir (Catalans Dragons), Benjamin Garcia (Brisbane Broncos), Tony Gigot (Sporting Olympique Avignon XIII), Clint Greenshields (North Queensland Cowboys), Younes Khattabi (AS Carcassone XIII), Kevin Larroyer (Catalans Dragons), Antoni Maria (Catalans Dragons), Gregory Mounis (Catalans Dragons), Eloi Pelissier (Catalans Dragons), Sebastian Raguin (St Esteve XIII Catalan), Mickael Simon (Catalans Dragons), Cyril Stacul (FC Lezignan XIII), Frederic Vaccari (Catalans Dragons)

Head coach: Richard Agar

NEW ZEALAND: Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos), Krisnan Inu (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Thomas Leuluai (New Zealand Warriors), Kevin Locke (New Zealand Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (New Zealand Warriors), Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Elijah Taylor (New Zealand Warriors), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers), Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters)

Head coach: Stephen Kearney

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Wellington Albert (Lae Tigers), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Chan (Huddersfield Giants), Neville Costigan (Newcastle Knights), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Roger Laka (Enga Mioks), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Bosam McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast Titans), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Nandye (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Francis Paniu (Rabaul Gurias), James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)

Head coach: Adrian Lam

SAMOA: Roy Asotasi (South Sydney Rabbitohs), David Fa’alogo (Newcastle Knights), Pita Godinet (New Zealand Warriors), Harrison Hansen (Wigan Warriors), Masada Iosefa (Wests Tigers), Faleniu Iosi (Letava Bulldogs), Tim Lafai (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Joseph Leilua (Newcastle Knights), Teofilo Lepou (Marist Saints), Reni Maitua (Parramatta Eels), Penani Manumeasili (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Mose Masoe (Penrith Panthers), Suaia Matagi (New Zealand Warriors), Arden McCarthy (Point Chevalier Pirates), Anthony Milford (Canberra Raiders), Junior Moors (Melbourne Storm), Edward Purcell (New Zealand Warriors), Ben Roberts (Parramatta Eels), Iosia Soliola (St Helens), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers), Mark Taufua (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Ionatana Tino (Apia Barracudas), Daniel Vidot (St George Illawarra Dragons), Antonio Winterstein (Brisbane Broncos)

Head coach: Matt Parish

Fixtures

27.10.13 PNG v France (Hull)
27.10.13 New Zealand v Samoa (Warrington)
01.11.13 New Zealand v France (Avignon)
04.11.13 PNG v Samoa (Hull)
08.11.13 New Zealand v PNG (Leeds)
11.11.13 France v Samoa (Perpignan)

Key Players

Shaun Johnson (New Zealand)

No denying the quality of Shaun Johnson’s game.  Dangerous in attack and good kicking game, Johnson will direct this star-studded team around the field with ease in the first three games, but will earn his money when the Kiwis face the powerhouse likes of Australia and England at the back end of the tournament.

Anthony Milford (Samoa)

Anthony Milford gives Samoa one of their best chances to ignite attacking opportunities.  Milford’s rise in the Rugby League world has seen the young back in a tug of war with current club Canberra and Brisbane for his services.  He will be backed up by the experience of Roy Asotasi, Reni Matua and Antonio Winterstein out wide in Samoa’s quest to progress to the quarter-finals.

Ray Thompson (PNG)

Ray Thompson is the key player for PNG.  Despite only being twenty-three years of age, Thompson has the advantage of playing alongside Kangaroo’s five-eighth Johnathan Thurston.  He can play either in the halves or at dummy half where his quick thinking and creativity could give the likes of Samoa and France some trouble.  Thompson, Neville Costigan, Paul Aiton and David Mead will have the huge task of getting this side to the next stage of the competition.

Preview

This is the group of death, with defending World Cup champions New Zealand facing off against PNG, Samoa and France.  And these three teams will fight for the two remaining Quarter Final spots.  France have been a disappointment at International Level recording their last win on 20th October 2012 against Wales.  Papua New Guinea showed at the last World Cup they would be more than competitive but the loss of James Segeyaro to injury is a set-back before their first match.  Samoa are the unknown and their first game against New Zealand will give us a guide about how they will go.  The Samoa v France game on 11th November is the critical match in this group as to who will progress.

Prediction

27.10.13 PNG v France (Hull) weloveleague thinks PNG will win
27.10.13 New Zealand v Samoa (Warrington) weloveleague predicts a New Zealand win
01.11.13 New Zealand v France (Avignon) weloveleague says New Zealand by a mile
04.11.13 PNG v Samoa (Hull) weloveleague predicts a PNG win
08.11.13 New Zealand v PNG (Leeds) weloveleague thinks New Zealand will be too good
11.11.13 France v Samoa (Perpignan) weloveleague thinks France will win this crucial game

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