MANCHESTER – Australia are going to win their semi-final clash with New Zealand – if you believe the World Cup organisers, at least.
Tournament bosses have provisionally booked flights for the Kiwis to depart within a day of the full-time whistle at Elland Road on Friday night (Saturday morning AEDT), with reservations that would need to be changed if the result didn’t go as expected.
Organisers have already lost $10,000 when Samoa defeated Tonga, as the same arrangement had been in place to ship the losing side out. They provisionally reserve travel so that teams have the chance to depart promptly, and as a result, have to hedge their bets on who will win.
There was already controversy earlier in the World Cup, with Jamaica bristling at the idea that they could not defeat Lebanon and thus help Ireland to advance.
The Australian-based contingent on the Irish team, including Roosters star Luke Keary, were booked to depart the UK the day after Jamaica v Lebanon, which would have been vital for their qualification chances.
Kangaroos centre Latrell Mitchell doesn’t just want to dominate at international level he wants to become the greatest Indigenous player in Australian history.
That’s quite a lofty ambition when Arthur Beetson, one of the 13 Immortals, is considered the best of all time while modern legend Johnathan Thurston is also considered a future Immortal.
“I definitely have a goal to be the best Indigenous player to ever play the game,” Mitchell told foxsports.com.au.
“I’m just proud to be a black fella and represent my heritage and it would be awesome to one day hear people say ‘Latrell Mitchell, the proudest black fella to ever play the game’.
“I was umming and ahhing (about playing at the World Cup)… but when Mal gave me the call I was ready to go.
“I was getting homesick here the first few weeks, I’ll be honest. But at the end of the day I’m here now and loving it.
“Foxx (Josh Addo-Carr) and Jack Wighton settled me in and we’re all in the same boat, coaches and staff included, we all had to sacrifice something and we did it for the love of the game and the biggest thing now is to lift the trophy and make it all worth it.”
Samoa captain Junior Paulo has successfully overturned his one-game ban for striking Tonga forward David Fifita, clearing the way for him to play in his country’s semi-final against England.
Paulo was facing the prospect of being rubbed out of Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) game against the tournament hosts after his elbow made contact with Fifita’s face during his side’s 20-18 win over Tonga.
The Rugby League World Cup match review committee hit Paulo with a grade A suspension, which resulted in him missing one game.
Paulo took his fight to the World Cup’s independent judiciary and was able to successfully overturn the charge, allowing him to play in the semi-final at the Emirates Stadium in London.
The Parramatta forward became the first player at this tournament to get a charge thrown out after a hearing involving Sarah Wright, Wilf George and Lindsay Arnold.
Speaking before the hearing Samoa defence coach Lee Radford said: It’s got huge implications. Junior has been fantastic. He’s a genuine leader of men and to have him out there is important.” – AAP
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves should be unleashed on Australia this weekend despite his ongoing disciplinary issues, according to his front-row parter Joseph Tapine.
“He’s huge, and what he brings to camp you can’t make up for it,” said the Raiders prop. “He’s a seasoned veteran and goes after people. He’s not afraid, he knows how he plays and I like playing with people like that.”
JWH missed the first two games of the World Cup as he served a suspension from the Roosters’ final NRL game of the season, and immediately got himself banned again after a high tackle on Ireland’s Dan Norman.
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Nevertheless, his teammates insist that he brings an extra dimension to their pack.
“This is my fifth tour and on paper this is the best forward pack,” said Jordan Rapana.
“(Jared) is an enforcer and gets our go-forward going. He never takes a step backwards and we’ve got a great forward pack and when we get that go-forward we are hard to handle.”
For Australian forward Angus Crichton, taking on his Roosters teammate will be an unusual experience but he won’t be provoking his pal to try to get a penalty.
“He’s always at that level, I don’t think I need to bait him,” Crichton told AAP. “He’s a great person off the field but he’s an animal on it.
“He’s always been there as a role model and mentor for me and I’m excited to play against him. He’s a quality person but a lot of people don’t see that, they just see the savage who goes out there and plays as hard as he can.”