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Free picks & RLWC odds for England vs. PNG quarter-final

Rugby League World Cup 2017

    England vs. Papua New Guinea

    • Outright odds

      England: $9 at William Hill
      Papua New Guinea: $151 at William Hill

Sunday, November 19 – 4pm AEDT – Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

THERE are changes aplenty for England ahead of their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final clash with undefeated Papua New Guinea.

Among the most notable inclusions is South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess, who returns to the second row after time off with a knee complaint.

Also back are Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins, with Stefan Ratchford and Mark Percival dropping out of the last line.

Elliott Whitehead takes the number 12 jersey, while Josh Hodgson pushes James Roby to the bench.

Coach Wayne Bennett will be hoping for a more complete performance than the Brits put up in their serviceable, if uninspiring displays against Lebanon and France.

Meanwhile, PNG have stuck with much the same side as that which trounced the USA 64-0 to seal a hat-trick of wins in the group phase.

Despite scoring a brace in that game, Lachlan Lam drops out to make room for Ase Boas at five-eighth.

Stanton Albert and Rod Griffin step back to the interchange, while Stargroth Amean could start if Garry Lo does not pass fit.

England squad

Gareth Widdop
Jermaine McGillvary
Kallum Watkins
John Bateman
Ryan Hall
Kevin Brown
Luke Gale
Chris Hill
Josh Hodgson
James Graham
Sam Burgess
Elliott Whitehead
Sean O’Loughlin (c)
Alex Walmsley
Tom Burgess
Ben Currie
James Roby

(Reserves: Chris Heighington, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford, George Williams)

Papua New Guinea squad

David Mead (c)
Justin Olam
Kato Ottio
Nene Macdonald
Garry Lo
Ase Boas
Watson Boas
Moses Meninga
James Segeyaro
Luke Page
Rhyse Martin
Will Minoga
Paul Aiton
Kurt Baptiste
Stargroth Amean
Stanton Albert
Rod Griffin

(Reserves: Enock Maki, Wartovo Puara, Thompson Tetehe, Lachlan Lam)

Best bets for first tryscorer

Ryan Hall (+700 at William Hill) – England’s all-time leading tryscorer should be the first name you check out. Expect him to find plenty of gaps against a PNG side that is more about power and passion than defensive discipline.

Gareth Widdop (+900 at William Hill) – Fresh off a terrific season with St George Illawarra in the NRL, Widdop should draw plenty of action at online bookies. He is a clever customer who should feature prominently at both ends of England’s attacking plays.

Nene Macdonald (+1800 at William Hill) – A teammate of Widdop’s at the Dragons, Macdonald is a proven tryscorer at the highest level. Although playing in a more central position for PNG, he is still well capable of breaking a line and doing some damage.

England vs. PNG match prediction

PNG’s stats look impressive, but they had everything in their favour in the group stage. This will be their first game outside of Port Moresby for the tournament, and the opposition is a significant step up in class from the likes of the USA, Ireland and Wales. The English are still searching for an 80-minute performance, but they should have the quality to get the job done and move into the final four.

England by 13 points or more-166.67 at William Hill

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