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15 Nov 2017 by TSZ

2017 Rugby League World Cup - Australia vs Samoa Match Preview

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The Lowdown

AUSTRALIA

  • Australia were made to work for their win against Lebanon with the Cedars valiantly staying in the game until five tries in the final 30 minutes secured a comfortable win for the hosts.
  • The World Champions have now won their last nine World Cup games as they look to retain their trophy. They head into their quarter-final with Samoa having won seven of their last eight World Cup games by a minimum of 32 points.
  • Mal Meninga has made numerous changes to the side that faced Lebanon with Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Michael Morgan, Josh McGuire and Tyson Frizell all earning recalls. Tom Trbojevic, Cameron Munster, Josh Mansour, James Maloney, Felise Kaufusi and Ben Hunt are the men to make way.

Head Coach: Mal Meninga

Team: Slater; Gagai, Chambers, Dugan, Holmes; Morgan, Cronk; Woods, Smith, Klemmer, Cordner, Gillett, McGuire

Bench: Graham, McLean, Campbell-Gillard, Frizell

SAMOA

  • Despite trailing 14-6 at half-time, Samoa hit back in the second half and were able to secure the draw they needed against Scotland to book their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a 66th minute try from Young Tonumaipea.
  • That result meant Samoa finished Group B in third place but failed to win any of their three games with a contest against Australia looking like a huge challenge.
  • Matt Parish has recalled captain Frank Pritchard, Ben Roberts and Suaua Matagi after they were left out of the Scotland game. Frank Winterstein, Pita Godinet and Sam Tagataese make way.

Head Coach: Matt Parish

Team: Tonumaipea; Wright, Leutele, Leilua, Lafai; Luai, Roberts; Junior Paulo, Tevaga, Ese'ese, Papalii, Pritchard, Ah Mau

Bench: Brown, Afoa, Matagi, Joseph Paulo

Analysis - what to expect
Australia kick off the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup with a contest against Samoa although it could be the most one-sided game of the weekend. Samoa failed to win any of their three group games with them only qualifying by virtue of a better points difference than Scotland, the side they drew with in their final group game. Australia on the other hand won all three games with relative comfort and have now conceded no more than six points in their last eight World Cup matches. From those eight, they have managed to keep their opponents scoreless in four of them, a feat they achieved in their last game against Lebanon. Samoa have been given a 32-point start in this one but that may prove to be nowhere near enough with Australia likely to run away with this one.

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