2021 RLWC Week 3 Teams, Preview and Predictions

Here’s a look at week 3 of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, with team news, previews and predictions.

Related: RLWC Week 2 Teams, Preview and Predictions
Related: Rugby League World Cup Round-Up Week 2

Group C – New Zealand 48 defeated Ireland 10 (Headingley Stadium, October 28)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 29, NZ 07:30 Oct 29

New Zealand: 1. Joey Manu, 2. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 17. Briton Nikora, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jess Bromwich, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 13. Joseph Tapine, 11. Isaiah Papali’I, 14. Kieran Foran, 18. Jared Warea-Hargreaves, 20. Isaac Liu, 21. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 23. Scott Sorensen

Ireland: 1. Richie Myler, 3. Ed Chamberlain, 4. Toby King, 5. Innes Senior, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Joe Keyes, 9. Josh Cook, 10. Jaimin Jolliffe, 11. James Bentley, 12. Frankie Halton, 13. George King, 14. James McDonnell, 15. Harry Rushton, 16. Brendan O’Hagan, 17. Dan Norman, 18. Henry O’Kane, 20. Louis Senior, 21. Ronan Michael, 22. James Hasson

Referee: Robert Hicks

No previous meetings

New Zealand have named another strong line-up ahead of their match with Ireland in Leeds on Friday night. One notable omission is Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who suffered severe cramp in his four try haul against Jamaica last week. He could be in contention for a role in the knockout stage, however it appears Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jordan Rapana have the wing spots sown up.

Ireland will be up against it despite having the NRL experience of Luke Keary in the halves. The loss of Jaimin Jolliffe with his one-match suspension appeal failing is a huge blow for the Irish. They missed a perfect opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals last week but fell to Lebanon 32-14.

With the Kiwis conceding twelve points in two games, Ireland are going to have to play expansive and daring if they are to pull off an upset, and rely on Jamaica causing a boil over by beating the Cedars.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
New Zealand by 30New Zealand by 30New Zealand by 52New Zealand by 40New Zealand by 36

Group A – England 94 defeated Greece 4 (Bramall Lane, October 29)

Kick-off GMT 14:30, Syd 00:30 Oct 30, NZ 02:30 Oct 30

England: 7. George Williams, 2. Tommy Makinson, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Jack Welsby, 8. Tom Burgess, 10. Luke Thompson, 12. John Bateman, 13. Victor Radley, 14. Dom Young, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Matty Lees, 17. Mike Cooper, 18. Chris Hill, 19. Andy Ackers, 20. Mike McMeeken, 21. Marc Sneyd, 22. Joe Batchelor, 23. Mikolaj Oledzki, 24. Kai Pearce-Paul 

Greece: 10. Stefanos Bastas, 3. Terry Constantinou, 12. Nick Flocas, 6. Lachlan Ilias, 14. Jake Kambos, 21. Konstantinos Katsidonis, 9. Peter Mamouzelos, 7. Jordan Meads, 5. Johnny Mitsias, 4. Nick Mougios, 20. Ioannis Nake, 17. Theodoros Niniakas, 22. Ioannis Rousoglou, 16. Sebastian Sell, 19. Liam Sue-Tin, 2. Siteni Taukamo, 8. Robert Tuliatu, 25. Adam Vrahnos, 11. Mitchell Zampetides 

Referee: Belinda Sharpe

No previous meetings

This is a game where England are expected to win well. Joe Batchelor will make his debut for England as they look to round out the Pool stage with three straight wins. Surely, Dom Young adds to his tally of four tries in two matches as NRL rivals circle around the winger who is off contract at the end of 2023 with Newcastle. He’s had an impressive start to his international career.

With more international football against second-tier nations, Greece will improve. They were competitive against France in the first week but fell well behind against Samoa. For a side which fought to be recognised by its own nation (which happened in July this year), they should be completely proud of their efforts at the tournament.

Australia’s Belinda Sharpe becomes the second female referee to debut in the men’s tournament after Kasey Badger controlled last week’s Tonga and Wales clash.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
England by 78England by 40England by 58England by 70England by 56

Group B – Fiji 30 defeated Scotland 14 (Newcastle, October 29)

Kick-off GMT 17:00, Syd 03:00 Oct 30, NZ 05:00 Oct 30

Fiji: 24. Vuate Karawalevu, 12. Viliame Kikau, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 16. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, 18. Netane Masima, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 20. Henry Raiwalui, 8. Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu, 11. Taniela Sadrugu, 3. Korbin Sims, 2. Maika Sivo, 14. Penioni Tagituimua, 15. Tevita Toloi, 1. Sunia Turuva, 19. Semi Valemei, 5. Mitieli Vulikijapani, 17. King Vuniyayawa, 7. Brandon Wakeham, 22. Josh Wong

Scotland: 11. Euan Aitken, 15. Luke Bain, 8. Logan Bayliss-Brown, 13. James Bell, 7. Ryan Brierley, 4. Kieran Buchanan, 20. Davey Dixon, 24. Dale Ferguson, 19. Calum Gahan, 16. Guy Graham 3. Ben Hellewell, 9. Liam Hood, 12. Kane Linnett, 23. Bayley Liu, 10. Sam Luckley, 2. Matty Russell, 14. Kyle Schneider, 18. Jack Teanby, 5. Lachlan Walmsley

Referee: Tom Grant

Head-to-Head: Played 1, Scotland 1, Fiji 0

Fiji will qualify for the knock-out stage should they dispose of Scotland at Newcastle on Sunday morning Australian time. Tui Kamikamica is sidelined for the game through suspension, with HostPlus Cup Northern Pride prop Joseph Ratuvakacerivalu taking his place in the run-on side.

Scotland have made quite a few changes, most notably Ryan Brierley is back in the side after missing the clash with Australia, while Muswellbrook-born Lachlan Walmsley will move to fullback for Alex Walker. Captain Dale Ferguson could be representing his nation for the final time and will start from the bench.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Fiji by 22Fiji by 20Fiji by 30Fiji by 50Fiji by 36

Group B – Australia 66 defeated Italy 6 (Halliwell Jones Stadium, October 29)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 30, NZ 07:30 Oct 30

Australia: 12. Matt Burton, 6. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 13. Patrick Carrigan, 2. Daly Cherry-Evans, 14. Nathan Cleary, 15. Lindsay Collins, 16. Reuben Cotter, 18. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, 19. Campbell Graham, 4. Valentine Holmes, 3. Ben Hunt, 21. Liam Martin, 8. Latrell Mitchell, 11. Cameron Murray, 22. Jeremiah Nanai, 23. Murray Taulagi, 1. James Tedesco, 10. Jack Wighton, 24. Isaah Yeo

Italy: 3. Daniel Atkinson, 13. Nathan Brown, 6. Jack Campagnolo, 16. Gioele Celerino, 20. Jack Colovatti, 19. Luke Hodge, 10. Anton Iaria, 2. Richard Lepori, 5. Jake Maizen, 15. Luca Moretti, 4. Ethan Natoli, 17. Ronny Palumbo, 9. Dean Parata, 18. Kyle Pickering, 1. Luke Polselli, 7. Radean Robinson, 12. Brenden Santi, 8. Alec Susino, 14. Joey Tramontana

Referee: Liam Moore

Head-to-Head: Played 2, Australia 2, Italy 0

While Australia is likely to be too strong for Italy, the talking point for this game is the “playoff” for the halfback role between Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans ahead of the knockout stage. While Mal Meninga may be intent on Cherry-Evans being the first choice, Cleary has dominated the NRL in the last few years off the back of Penrith’s success.

Italy would need to rely on Fiji beating Scotland, and a huge margin over Australia to be any chance. They should be exceptionally happy they won their opening pool game against Scotland. Can Jake Maizen end the tournament with another try? The Sunshine Coast Falcons player has impressed at the tournament.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Australia by 74Australia by 60Australia by 104Australia by 70Australia by 66

Group C – Lebanon 74 defeated Jamaica 12 (Leigh Sports Village, October 30)

Kick-off GMT 12:00, Syd 23:00 Oct 30, NZ 01:00 Oct 31

Lebanon: 17. Jalal Bazzaz, 6. Adam Doueihi, 10. Hanna El-Nachar, 11. Elie El-Zackhem, 15. Andrew Kazzi, 14. Anthony Layoun, 3. Bilal Maarbani, 2. Josh Mansour, 22. Tony Maroun, 5. Abbas Miski, 4. Brandon Morkos, 7. Mitch Moses, 20. Jaxson Rahme, 19. Khalil Rahme, 18. Khaled Rajab, 16. Reece Robinson, 13. James Roumanos, 9. Mikey Tannous, 12. Charbel Tasipale

Jamaica: 2. Mo Agoro, 15. Jorge Andrade, 22. Chevaughan Bailey, 3. Joe Brown, 12. Joel Farrell, 13. Ashton Golding, 9. Jy-Mel Coleman, 20. Greg Johnson, 1. Ben Jones-Bishop, 17. Aaron Jones-Bishop, 10. Michael Lawrence, 8. Khamisi McKain, 4. Jacob Ogden, 7. Kieran Rush, 18. Abevia McDonald, 16. Keenan Tomlinson, 11. AJ Wallace, 6. James Woodburn-Hall, 5. Alex Young

Referee: Paki Parkinson

No previous meetings

Lebanon has a great chance to advance to the quarter-finals with an expected victory over Jamaica in their final Pool game at Leigh. They will be boosted by the return of Adam Doueihi from suspension and his partnership with Mitch Moses in the halves will ensure Lebanon win in a breeze.

Jamaica will be looking to round out their first time on the big stage with a good showing by building on the historic Ben Jones-Bishop try. They’ve done well to knock out the United States to qualify and hopefully this will continue the development of the game in the West Indies.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Lebanon by 26Lebanon by 30Lebanon by 44Lebanon by 50Lebanon by 38

Group D – Tonga 92 defeated Cook Islands 10 (Middlesbrough, October 30)

Kick-off GMT 14:30, Syd 00:30 Oct 31, NZ 02:30 Oct 31

Tonga: 2. Daniel Tupou, 4. Will Penisini, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Talatau Amone, 7. Tui Lolohea, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Keaon Koloamatangi, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 14. Soni Luke, 16. Tevita Tatola, 17. Moeaki Fotuaika, 18. David Fifita, 19. Mosese Suli, 21. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 22. Tesi Niu, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 24. Isaiya Katoa

Cook Islands: 1. Kayal Iro, 2. Paul Ulberg, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Steve Marsters, 6. Brad Takairangi, 7. Johnathon Ford, 8. Makahesi Makatoa, 9. Aaron Teroi, 10. Tepai Moeroa, 11. Dominique Peyroux, 12. Brendan Piakura, 13. Zane Tetevano, 14. Tevin Arona, 15. Tirinau Arona, 18. Moses Noovao-McGreal, 19. Pride Petterson-Robati, 20. Davvy Moale, 22. Geoff Daniela, 24. Dylan Napa 

Referee: Ashley Klein

Head-to-Head: Played 11, Tonga 10, Cook Islands 1

Tonga will go in as favourites to defeat the Cook Islands and finish in outright top spot in Group D. It’s been eighteen years since they tasted defeat against their fellow Pacific neighbours and will welcome back Jason Taumalolo from suspension. It’s another strong line-up even if they haven’t named David Fifita and Moses Suli in the seventeen-man squad.

The Cook Islands have accounted for themselves well at the tournament. Should they beat Tonga and Wales beat Papua New Guinea on Monday, they will earn their first knockout appearance at the World Cup. But it will be a tall order despite having experience in Brad Takairangi, Dom Peyroux and Zane Tetavano in the side.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Tonga by 24Tonga by 10Tonga by 14Tonga by 12Tonga by 20

Group A – Samoa 62 defeated France 4 (Halliwell Jones Stadium, October 30)

Kick-off GMT 17:00, Syd 03:00 Oct 31, NZ 05:00 Oct 31

Samoa: 4. Stephen Crichton, 20. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15. Royce Hunt, 23. Oregon Kaufusi, 25. Tim Lafai, 16. Spencer Leniu, 9. Danny Levi, 6. Jarome Luai, 2. Taylan May, 7. Anthony Milford, 8. Josh Papali’i, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Ligi Sao, 26. Ken Sio, 12. Jaydn Su’a, 1. Joseph Sua’ali’i, 17. Martin Taupau, 5. Brian To’o, 22. Kelma Tuilagi 

France: 6. Arthur Mourgue, 7. Arthur Romano, 3. Samisoni Langi, 4. Matthieu Laguerre, 5. Fouad Yaha, 23. César Rougé, 7. Tony Gigot, 8. Jordan Dezaria, 9. Alrix Da Costa, 16. Gadwin Springer, 11. Benjamin Jullien, 12. Paul Séguier, 13. Benjamin Garcia, 15. Justin Sangaré, 14. Eloi Pélissier, 17. Mickaël Goudemand, 10. Lambert Belmas, 21. Maxime Puech, 24. Louis Jouffret 

Referee: Todd Smith

Head-to-Head: Played 4, Samoa 3, France 1

This will be the most intriguing match-up of the weekend with both teams in the fight for finishing second in Group A.

Samoa bounced back last week after being thumped by England in the opening match, to dispose of Greece comfortably and more importantly, move ahead of France on points difference. The French were competitive against England despite falling 42-18 at Bolton.

France will start Arthur Mourgue at fullback after Morgan Escare was dropped by Laurent Frayssinous. Fouyad Yaha returns to the side after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the tournament.

Samoa will welcome back Ken Sio to the side at the expense of Mathew Feagai, while Oregon Kaufusi comes in for injured Josh Aloiai whose tournament is over after dislocating his kneecap.

The battle for control of the game will be in the halves where Jarome Luai and Tony Gigot will be steering their sides in attack. This is where Samoa with their outside backs may just be a little too strong for the French.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Samoa by 26Samoa by 20Samoa by 2France by 6Samoa by 8

Group D – Papua New Guinea 36 defeated Wales 0 (Doncaster, October 31)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Nov 1, NZ 07:30 Nov 1

Papua New Guinea: 8. Wellington Albert, 13. Jacob Alick, 18. Keven Appo, 24. Zev John, 9. Edwin Ipape, 1. Alex Johnston, 7. Lachlan Lam, 6. Kyle Laybutt, 3. Nene MacDonald, 12. Rhyse Martin, 14. Wesser Tenza, 19. Jimmy Ngutlik, 4. Justin Olam, 11. Nixon Putt, 15. Daniel Russell, 20. Rodrick Tai, 22. Jeremiah Simbiken, 17. Emmanuel Waine, 21. Sherwin Tanabi

Wales: 1. Caleb Aekins, 2. Rhys Williams, 4. Will Evans, 6. Elliot Kear, 7. Josh Ralph, 8. Anthony Walker, 9. Matty Fozard, 10. Dan Fleming, 11. Rhodri Lloyd, 12. Chester Butler, 14. Ollie Olds, 15. Curtis Davies, 16. Joe Burke, 17. Bailey Antrobus, 18. Connor Davies, 19. Mike Butt, 22. Kyle Evans, 23. James Olds, 24. Gavin Bennion

Referee: Gerard Sutton

Head-to-Head: Played 3, Wales 2, Papua New Guinea 1

The final quarter-final spot at the Rugby League World Cup will be decided early Tuesday morning (Australian time) when Papua New Guinea meet Wales.

Papua New Guinea are in the box seat to advance after their victory over the Cook Islands last week and their path will be made easier should Tonga account for last week’s opponents in the Sunday triple-header. Their only change to the starting line-up comes in Sherwin Tanabi replacing Sylvester Namo.

Wales have made no changes to their starting thirteen.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
PNG by 8PNG by 18PNG by 26PNG by 18PNG by 20

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