New Zealand Aiming for a Positive Start Against Samoa
New Zealand have been drawn alongside Scotland, Tonga, and Samoa in Pool B and they begin their World Cup campaign against the latter on October 28th. The Kiwis are ranked 2nd in the world to Australia but have been priced up as 3rd favourites for the tournament at 9.00 with Betstar.
New Zealand haven’t enjoyed the smoothest build-up to this tournament, losing a number of key players with Kieran Foran sitting out through injury whilst the ever-impressive Jason Taumalolo has defected to Tonga, which didn’t go down well with coach David Kidwell. It also came as a surprise to many of the players and staff, and fans will be hoping the shock has united the group ahead of their opener.
Centre Brad Takairangi looks set to make his debut in this match whilst fellow newcomers Issac Liu and Danny Levi are set to start on the bench in Auckland. The powerful Nelson Asofa-Solomona could prove to be the surprise package of this side, with the 21-year-old impressing at Melbourne Storm this season but he may have to wait for his chance. As always Shaun Johnson and Jordan Ropana will be pivotal to their success in this tournament.
Samoa are a sizable team and their power has seen them rise to 5th in the rankings. They are usually involved in plenty of high-scoring games and their forwards are exceptionally talented but they may once again be vulnerable to the Kiwi attack.
Despite losing several key members, New Zealand will be expected to get off to a strong start and they’ve been drawn in a relatively straightforward group with fellow title rivals England and Australia pitched together in pool A. It could be a highly entertaining and high-scoring encounter but New Zealand should just edge this opener.
You can find details of all of the top Australian bookmakers here at BettingTop10, including William Hill, who have priced New Zealand at 1.22 to beat Samoa in their opener.