The last quarter final sees England play Papua New Guinea in Melbourne. England have been too inconsistent so far and will be looking for the full 80 minute performance that they have yet to show. PNG will be hoping to spoil the party after winning all three group games.
England have recorded two wins, losing only to Australia in the very first RLWC 2017 game. However they have not been performing to their fullest potential. Their second half against Australia was exactly how they need to play. Last week’s win against France was underwhelming after a fantastic first half display and an under-par second half showing.
PNG have only conceded 12 points in three games in an impressive World Cup so far. Ranked only 16th in the world, it feels like they had a point to prove.
England will welcome back Sam Burgess after his knee ligament injury and he goes straight into the starting line-up. He originally wasn’t expected to be fit for the quarter final stages so is it a game too soon for him? England also have Elliot Whitehead, Josh Hodgson, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall back into the 17.
PNG have made some key changes too. Lachlan Lam misses out after last week’s superb performance and is replaced by Ase Boas. New Castleford signing Garry Lo is expected to be fit to play. Nixon Putt and Thompson Teteh drop out of the 17.
With the return of Lo, it will be interesting to see how he does against Jermaine McGillvary. Both wingers have similar attributes: strong, powerful and good carriers of the ball. Moving up from the Championship means Lo has a big leap up to Super League and will be facing one of Super League’s best wingers.
England: Gareth Widdop, Jermaine McGillvary, Kallum Watkins, John Bateman, Ryan Hall, Kevin Brown, Luke Gale, Chris Hill, John Hodgson, James Graham, Sam Burgess, Elliott Whitehead, Sean O’Loughlin (capt).
Interchanges: Alex Walmsley, Tom Burgess, Ben Currie, James Roby.
Reserves: Chris Heighington, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, George Williams.
Papua New Guinea: David Mead (capt), Justin Olam, Kato Ottio, Nene Macdonald, Garry Lo, Ase Boas, Watson Boas, Moses Meninga, James Segeyaro, Luke Page, Rhyse Martin, Willie Minoga, Paul Aiton.
Interchanges: Kurt Baptiste, Stargroth Amean, Stanton Albert, Rod Griffin.
Reserves: Enock Maki, Wartovo Puara, Thompson Teteh, Lachlan Lam.
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