RLWC: England on course for final meeting with Australia

England remain on a collision course with Australia after an exciting first week of action at the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC).

Shaun Wane’s side have been impressive in their two outings to date and look well placed to go a long way at the tournament.

However, Australia have also been in excellent form and are likely to be the biggest threat to England’s chances of lifting the trophy for the first time.

Read on as we look at how the two teams have performed to date and assess their respective chances of becoming world champions.

Home advantage could be key for England

Former England star Jamie Peacock predicted before the tournament that home advantage could play a crucial role at the World Cup.

Peacock helped England reach the semi-finals of the tournament on two occasions (2000 & 2008) and will be pleased by the team’s performances this time around.

An impressive 60-6 victory over Samoa in their opening game was a big statement of intent, particularly as their opponents had been tipped to do well.

England followed up with a 42-18 win against France on Saturday to send a message to their rivals that they are genuine title contenders.

With a fairly favourable route to the final ahead of them, England are well on course to secure an epic showdown with Australia on November 19.

Tougher tests await the reigning champions

Australia eased past Fiji in their first group game, before romping to a comprehensive victory against Scotland over the weekend.

The Kangaroos have been world champions on 11 previous occasions and undoubtedly have the talent to book their place in the final.

However, while they have had little difficulty swatting aside their opponents to date, Australia are not guaranteed to go all the way.

They have landed in the same half of the draw as New Zealand, who have looked in excellent nick in their first two outings at the tournament.

The two sides are on track to meet in the semi-finals and it would be a brave move to bet on the outcome of what promises to be a bruising encounter.

New Zealand showcase their title credentials

Comfortable victories over Lebanon and Jamaica prove little in the grand scheme of things, but New Zealand are undoubtedly genuine title contenders.

They were extremely ruthless against Jamaica, running in 13 tries on their way to an emphatic 68-6 victory in Hull.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was the star of the show with four tries and he possesses the ability to cause problems for the top teams at the tournament.

New Zealand (2008) are the only team to prevent Australia winning the World Cup since the turn of the century and will fancy their chances of repeating the feat this year.

However, both southern hemisphere sides could find it tough to fend off England, who will be backed a partisan crowd if they reach the final.

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