Having been delayed, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup finally got underway on Saturday, October 15th, in what’s set to be a thrilling tournament.
This is the sixteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup, and like many times before, Australia is the team that everyone has to beat.
The Wallabies are the reigning champions and have lifted the Paul Barriere Trophy on 11 occasions, and they headed into this World Cup as the odds-on favourites to defend their title.
England Get Things Underway
England got the 2021 Rugby League World Cup underway on Saturday with a big win over Samoa in Newcastle, eventually running out 60-6 winners.
The hosts headed into the tournament missing some big names, including Liam Farrell and Alex Walmsley, and being written off by the bookmakers.
Their clash with Samoa was seen as a potentially tricky match-up, but Shaun Wane’s squad put in an excellent performance that will see their confidence grow.
And Saturday also saw Australia get their tournament underway as they saw off Fiji 42-8 at Headingley.
Sunday saw three matches taking place, including Scotland and Ireland in action – Scotland lost to Italy 28-4, Ireland thrashed Jamaica 48-2, and New Zealand edged out Lebanon 34-12 in Warrington.
France Look to Lay Down a 2025 Marker
Monday saw France, who will host the 2025 World Cup, taking on Greece in Doncaster, with it a miracle that Greece are even competing due to legal wrangling with their own government.
In a hard-fought match, though – France got off to a winning start, taking the victory 34-12.
There’s a southern hemisphere battle on Tuesday when Tonga, who reached the last four in 2017, go head-to-head with Papua New Guinea in St Helens.
This should be a bruising battle, with Papua New Guinea reaching the quarter-finals five years ago and now ranked 6th in the world.
Wednesday sees Wales get their tournament underway, and having failed to win a match in 2017, they’ll be eying up victory over the Cook Islands in Leigh.
Let’s Go Round Again
A rest day on Thursday sees fans get a breather from the action before the match day two games get underway on Friday, with Australia taking on Scotland in Coventry.
Saturday sees three big games – Fiji facing Italy before old rivals England and France clashing in Bolton. The day ends with New Zealand and Jamaica battling it out in Hull.
The opening week of the rugby League World Cup concludes with another three matches – Ireland taking on Lebanon, Wales squaring off against Tonga and Samoa taking on the minnows of Greece.