2021 RLWC Week 2 Teams, Preview and Predictions

Here’s a look at week 2 of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, with team news, previews and predictions.

Related: RLWC Week 1 Teams, Preview and Predictions

Group B – Australia 84 defeated Scotland 0 (Coventry, October 21)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 22, NZ 07:30 Oct 22

Australia: 1. James Tedesco, 9. Josh Addo-Carr, 12. Matt Burton, 10. Jack Wighton, 19. Campbell Graham, 7. Cameron Munster, 14. Nathan Cleary, 6. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 20. Harry Grant, 13. Patrick Carrigan, 17. Angus Crichton, 21. Liam Martin, 24. Isaah Yeo, 3. Ben Hunt, 15. Lindsay Collins, 4. Valentine Holmes, 5. Jake Trbojevic, 2. Daly Cherry-Evans, 22. Jeremiah Nanai 

Scotland: 11. Euan Aitken, 15. Luke Bain, 8. Logan Bayliss-Brown, 13. James Bell, 4. Kieran Buchanan, 20. Davey Dixon, 24. Dale Ferguson, 19. Calum Gahan, 6. Bailey Hayward, 3. Ben Hellewell, 9. Liam Hood, 12. Kane Linnett, 23. Bayley Liu, 10. Sam Luckley, 2. Matty Russell, 14. Kyle Schneider, 18. Jack Teanby, 22. Alex Walker, 5. Lachlan Walmsley.

Referee: Grant Atkins

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

Australia are short priced favourites to defeat Scotland in their clash at Coventry on Friday night. Matt Burton, Campbell Graham, Nathan Cleary, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo and Lindsay Collins will debut. The attention will be on Cleary and how he combines with Cam Munster in the halves.

Scotland have received a blow with experienced fullback Ryan Brierely ruled out with an elbow problem, allowing Alex Walker to score his eighth international cap.

Should the Aussie halves pairing click, this could be quite a score put on the Scots which did themselves no favours in being outclassed by Italy earlier in the week.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Australia by 60Australia by 50Australia by 64Australia by 66coming soon

Group B – Fiji 60 defeated Italy 4 (Kingston Park, October 22)

Kick-off GMT 14:30, Syd 00:30 Oct 23, NZ 02:30 Oct 23

Fiji: 13. Tui Kamikamica, 24. Vuate Karawalevu, 12. Viliame Kikau, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 16. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, 18. Netane Masima, 6. Sitiveni Moceidreke, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 10. Ben Nakubuwai, 11. Taniela Sadrugu, 3. Korbin Sims, 2. Maika Sivo, 14. Penioni Tagituimua, 1. Sunia Turuva, 19. Semi Valemei, 5. Mitieli Vulikijapani, 17. King Vuniyayawa, 7. Brandon Wakeham, 22. Josh Wong

Italy: 1. Luke Polselli, 2. Richard Lepori, 3. Daniel Atkinson, 4. Ethan Natoli, 5. Jake Maizen, 6. Jack Campagnolo, 7. Radean Robinson, 8. Alec Susino, 9. Dean Parata, 10. Anton Iaria, 11. Ryan King, 12. Brenden Santi, 13. Nathan Brown, 14. Joey Tramontana, 15. Luca Moretti, 17. Ronnie Palumbo18. Kyle Pickering, 19. Luke Hodge, 20. Jack Colovatti

Referee: Jack Smith

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

This is a must-win game for Fiji who play round 1 winners Italy in Newcastle on Saturday. Veteran forward Korbin Sims comes into the side for Jowasa Drodrolagi in the only change for the Fijian side. Italy bring into their squad Alec Susino and Ronny Palumbo at the expense of Gioele Celerino and Jack Colovatti.

Italy will have to be above their best to have any chance against Fiji with the expectation that a strong forward pack including Viliame Kikau will lead the Pacific nation to victory.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Fiji by 18Fiji by 10Italy by 6Fiji by 32Fiji by 34

Group A – England 48 defeated France 12 (Bolton, October 22)

Kick-off GMT 17:00, Syd 03:00 Oct 23, NZ 05:00 Oct 23

England: 19. Andy Ackers, 22. Joe Batchelor, 12. John Bateman, 8. Tom Burgess, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Ryan Hall, 18. Chris Hill, 9. Michael McIlorum, 23. Mikolaj Oledzki, 24. Kai Pearce-Paul, 13. Victor Radley, 21. Marc Sneyd, 10. Luke Thompson, 1. Sam Tomkins, 3. Kallum Watkins, 6. Jack Welsby, 11. Elliott Whitehead, 7. George Williams, 14. Dom Young.

France: 10. Lambert Belmas, 9. Alrix Da Costa, 8. Jordan Dezaria, 1. Morgan Escaré, 13. Benjamin Garcia, 7. Tony Gigot, 17. Mickael Goudemand, 11. Benjamin Jullien, 4. Matthieu Laguerre, 3. Samisoni Langi, 19. Corentin Le Cam, 6. Arthur Mourgue, 14. Éloi Pélissier, 2. Arthur Romano, 23. César Rougé, 15. Justin Sangaré, 12. Paul Séguier, 16. Gadwin Springer, 5. Fouad Yaha.

Referee: Gerard Sutton

Head-to-Head: Played 50, England 41, France 7, Drawn 2

England will go in as strong favourites with France last beating them back in 1977 at Carcassonne.

The hosts have made a raft of changes following their demolition of Samoa in the opening game of the tournament. Ryan Hall and John Bateman are among those selected, with Tommy Makinson, Mike Cooper and Mike McMeekin among the five changes.

France are at an extreme disadvantage having played just four days earlier in their win against Greece. However, they have stuck with the same seventeen that won in Doncaster.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
England by 50England by 30England by 14England by 18England by 40

Group C – New Zealand 68 defeated Jamaica 6 (MKM Stadium, October 22)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 23, NZ 07:30 Oct 23

New Zealand: 1. Joseph Manu, 24. Sebastian Kris, 3. Marata Niukore, 4. Peta Hiku, 19. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6. Dylan Brown, 14. Kieran Foran, 15. Moses Leota, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 17. Briton Nikora, 20. Isaac Liu, 11. Isaiah Papali’I, 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 22. Jeremy Marshall-King, 23. Scott Sorensen, 21. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 8. Jesse Bromwich.

Jamaica: 2. Mo Agoro, 15. Jorge Andrade, 22. Chevaughan Bailey, 3. Joe Brown, 12. Joel Farrell, 13. Ashton Golding, 19. Bradley Ho, 20. Greg Johnson, 1. Ben Jones-Bishop, 17. Aaron Jones-Bishop, 10. Michael Lawrence, 8. Khamisi McKain, 4. Jacob Ogden, 7. Kieran Rush, 24. Andrew Simpson, 16. Keenan Tomlinson, 11. AJ Wallace, 6. James Woodburn-Hall, 5. Alex Young.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

No previous meetings

Jamaica may have been let off lightly on the scoreboard with poor goalkicking costing Ireland last Sunday a possible sixty points. They won’t have any favours gifted them when they face world number 1 side New Zealand on Sunday morning, Auckland time.

Some betting agencies are offering Jamaica up to 74 points start which may not be enough based on the complete mismatch between both sides.

It will be a field day for Joey Manu, who was best on field in the Kiwis first up win against Lebanon. Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris will skipper his nation for the first time.

Could New Zealand crack the century on the scoreboard and become the second nation behind Australia (110-4 vs Russia, 2000 World Cup) to do so?


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
New Zealand by 80New Zealand by 60New Zealand by 80New Zealand by 70New Zealand by 64

Group C – Lebanon 32 defeated Ireland 14 (Leigh Sports Village, October 23)

Kick-off GMT 14:30, Syd 00:30 Oct 24, NZ 02:30 Oct 24

Lebanon: 17. Jalal Bazzaz, 10. Hanna El-Nachar, 11. Elie El-Zakhem, 8. Kayne Kalache, 15. Andrew Kazzi, 1. Jacob Kiraz, 14. Anthony Layoun, 3. B. Maarbani, 2. Josh Mansour, 5. Abbas Miski, 4. Brandon Morkos, 7. Mitch Moses, 19. Khalil Rahme, 20. Jaxson Rahme, 18. K. Rajeb, 16. Reece Robinson, 13. James Roumanos, 9. Mikey Tannous, 12. Charbel Tasipale.

Ireland: 1. Richie Myler, 3. Ed Chamberlain, 4. Toby King, 5. Innes Senior,  6. Luke Keary, 7. Joe Keyes, 8. Liam Byrne, 9. Josh Cook, 10. Jaimin Jolliffe, 11. James Bentley, 12. Frankie Halton, 13. George King,15. Harry Rushton, 16. Brendan O’Hagan, 17. Dan Norman, 19. Robbie Mulhern, 20. Louis Senior, 21. Ronan Michael, 22. James Hasson. 

Referee: Adam Gee

Head-to-Head: Played 3, Lebanon 1, Drawn 2

The clash between Lebanon and Ireland at Leigh on Sunday could decide who finishes second in group C and advances to a quarter-final clash with Australia at Huddersfield on November 4.

Lebanon will have their backs against the wall where they will be without Adam Doueihi after copping a week for his send off last weekend against New Zealand. This will result in Mitch Moses having to carry the playmaking duties with unknown Michael Tannous filling in for Doueihi.

Ireland will meet much more resistant opposition this week after scoring ten tries in their 48-2 win against Jamaica last Monday. They’ve named the same starting thirteen as last week with Luke Keary holding the key in attack for the Irish.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Lebanon by 12Lebanon by 2Lebanon by 12Ireland by 13Lebanon by 4

Group A – Samoa 72 defeated Greece 4 (Doncaster, October 23)

Kick-off GMT 17:00, Syd 03:00 Oct 24, NZ 05:00 Oct 24

Samoa: 13. Josh Aloiai, 21. Fa’amanu Brown, 4. Stephen Crichton, 19. Mat Feagai, 20. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15. Royce Hunt, 23. Oregon Kaufusi, 25. Tim Lafai, 16. Spencer Leniu, 9. Danny Levi, 6. Jarome Luai, 8. Josh Papali’i, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Ligi Sao, 26. Ken Sio, 12. Jaydn Su’a, 1. Joseph Sua’aili’i, 17. Martin Taupa’u, 5. Brian To’o.

Greece: 10. Stefanos Bastas, 23. Nikolaos Bosmos, 3. Terry Constantinou, 12. Nick Flocas, 15. Myles Gal, 6. Lachlan Ilias, 14. Jake Kambos, 13. Billy Magoulias, 9. Peter Mamouzelos, 5. Johnny Mitsias, 4. Nick Mougios, 23. Ioannis Nake, 17. Theodoros Nianiakas, 1. Chaise Robinson, 16. Sebastian Sell, 19. Liam Sue-Tin, 2. Siteni Taukamo, 8. Robert Tuilatu, 25. Adam Vrahnos.

Referee: James Child

No previous meetings

After being trounced by England in the competition opener, Samoa will be looking to regroup as they take on World Cup minnows Greece in Doncaster on Sunday. Their squad suffered campaign ending injuries to Braden Hamlin-Uele and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. Anthony Milford was suspended for his late hit on Sam Tomkins. Ken Sio, Fa’amanu Brown, Royce Hunt and Ligi Sao come into the side.

Greece will be without their captain Jordan Meads who is replaced by Nikolaos Bosmos. It will be up to NRL experience in Lachlan Ilias, Billy Magoulias and Peter Mamouzelos to steer this young Greek team in the right direction.

Samoa should be able to get back on track with victory.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Samoa by 20Samoa by 20Samoa by 14Samoa by 30Samoa by 28

Group D – Tonga 32 defeated Wales 6 (Totally Wicked Stadium, October 24)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 25, NZ 07:30 Oct 25

Tonga: 6. Talatau Amone, 18. David Fifita, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 17. Moeaki Fotuaika, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 5. Sione Katoa, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Keaon Koloamatangi, 20. Toluta’u Koula, 7. Tuimoala Lolohea, 14. Soni Luke, 21. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 22. Tesi Niu, 15. Haumole Olakau’atu, 4. Will Penisini, 3. Siosifa Talakai, 16. Tevita Tatola, 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 2. Daniel Tupou.

Wales: 1. Caleb Aekins, 17. Bailey Antrobus, 24. Gavin Bennion, 16. Joe Burke, 12. Chester Butler, 15. Curtis Davies, 18. Connor Davies, 22. Kyle Evans, 10. Dan Fleming, 9. Matty Fozard, 5. Dalton Grant, 21. Tom Hopkins, 6. Elliot Kear, 23. James Olds, 14. Ollie Olds, 7. Josh Ralph, 25. Luke Thomas, 8. Anthony Walker, 2. Rhys Williams.

Referee: Kasey Badger

No previous meetings

Tonga can qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals with victory over Wales on Tuesday morning Sydney time. They’ve made two changes with Konrad Hurrell and Talatau Amone coming into the side for Moses Suli and Isaiya Katoa respectively. Papua New Guinea gave them a fright mid-week after leading 18-6 at the break, only to win 24-18.

Wales will need to cause an upset to stay in contention for the knockout stage after going down 18-12 to the Cook Islands in their opening match. Will Evans and Mike Butt have been replaced by James Olds and Dalton Grant in the starting line-up.

Referee Kasey Badger makes history in being the first female referee to control a World Cup fixture.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
Tonga by 40Tonga by 24Tonga by 46Tonga by 50Tonga by 50

Group D – Papua New Guinea Vs Cook Islands (Halliwell Jones Stadium, October 25)

Kick-off GMT 19:30, Syd 05:30 Oct 26, NZ 07:30 Oct 26

Papua New Guinea: 8. Wellington Albert, 13. Jacob Alick, 18. Keven Apo, 23. Watson Boas, 9. Edwin Ipape, 1. Alex Johnston, 7. Lachlan Lam, 6. Kyle Laybutt, 3. Nene MacDonald, 12. Rhyse Martin, 10. Sylvester Namo, 19. Jimmy Ngutlik, 4. Justin Olam, 11. Nixon Putt, 15. Daniel Russell, 20. Rodrick Tai, 22. Jeremiah Simbiken, 17. Emmanuel Waine, 16. McKenzie Yei. 

Cook Islands: 1. Kayal Iro, 2. Paul Ulberg, 3. Anthony Gelling, 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, 15. Tinirau Arona, 16. Reubenn Rennie, 17. Rua Ngatikaura, 18. Moses Noovao-McGreal, 20. Davvy Moale, 21. Vincent Rennie.

Referee: Chris Kendall

Head-to-Head: Played 5, Papua New Guinea 5 Cook Islands 0

The Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands match is shaping up as the most important game in a tight Group D battle for second place.

Papua New Guinea went agonisingly close to beating Tonga in their opening game. They will start with the same thirteen with their attack to be led by Lachlan Lam and Alex Johnston, supported by Edwin Ipape who was named best on field in their loss last Wednesday morning (Australian time).

The Cook Islands scored ten unanswered second half points to down Wales 18-12. Tepai Moeroa and Brendan Piakura will come into the line-up which boasts experience in Zane Tetevano, Anthony Gelling and Esan Marsters. Kayal Iro will once again start at fullback.

Papua New Guinea might just have the edge in the backline to overcome their Pacific Island opponents.


Matt PritchardAndrew PelechatyShannon MeyerLachlan JeffereyJack Harbidge
PNG by 16PNG by 6PNG by 20PNG by 12PNG by 30

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