England kick off their Rugby League World Cup season with a tough clash with Samoa.
Postponed by a year due to the pandemic, the tournament will be played in England over the next two months, with men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions running in parallel for the first time.
Three-time world champions England have plenty of experience in their squad and were beaten as finalists last time out.
But Shaun Wane’s side face a difficult start against a Samoan side boasting a number of Australia-based stars, including eight players who appeared in the NRL Grand Final in early October.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Group A’s opening game.
When and where is it?
England vs Samoa kicks off at 2.30pm BST on Saturday 15 October at St James’ Park in Newcastle, England.
How can I view it?
Viewers in the UK can watch the game live on BBC One from 1.15pm BST. The action can be streamed via BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.
Dominic Young is on the verge of winning his first cap for England, with the talented winger starring in the warm-up non-cap game against Fiji. The 21-year-old is part of a 19-man squad selected for the game against Samoa with Ryan Hall, England’s all-time top scorer, absent. Michael McIlorum got the nod ahead of Andy Ackers, with John Bateman, Mikolaj Oledski and Joe Batchelor also left out of the 24-man squad named by Shaun Wane for the tournament.
Samoa are optimistic they can improve on a disappointing performance at the 2017 tournament as Matt Parish has plenty of quality at his disposal. Teenage star Joseph Sua’ali’i has defied a possible call from Australia to play for his father and grandparents’ nation, while six of Parish’s World Cup squad were part of NRL-winning team Penrith Panthers.
“It’s not necessarily about spoiling the party,” said Samoa captain Junior Paulo before the game. “But beating England would mean a tremendous achievement for Samoa at international level.”
England’s 19-man squad: 1 Sam Tomkins 2 Tommy Makinson 3 Kallum Watkins 4 Herbie Farnworth 6 Jack Welsby 7 George Williams 8 Tom Burgess 9 Michael McIlorum 10 Luke Thompson 11 Elliott Whitehead 13.Victor Radley, 14.Dom Young, 15.Morgan Knowles, 16 Matty Lees, 17 Mike Cooper, 18 Chris Hill, 20 Mike McMeeken, 21 Marc Sneyd, 24 Kai Pearce-Paul.
Samoa 19-man squad: 1 Joseph Suaalii, 4 Stephen Crichton, 5 Brian To’o, 6 Jarome Luai, 7 Anthony Milford, 8 Josh Papalii, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Junior Paulo, 12 Jayden Su’a, 13 Josh Aloiai, 14 Tyrone May, 16 Spencer Leniu, 17 Martin Taupa’u, 18 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 20 Chanel Harris-Tavita, 22 Kelma Tuilagi, 23 Oregon Kaufusi, 24 Braden Hamlin-Uele.
England wins 5/4
Samoa wins 8/11
It’s likely to be a close affair at Newcastle as Samoa are keen to right the mistakes of the last World Cup and England are likely to have the backing of a strong home base. Quality abounds in both squads – maybe just a single try is in it. Samoa wins by four points.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-league/england-samoa-live-stream-world-cup-b2202677.html Live stream England vs Samoa: How to watch Rugby League World Cup match online and on TV