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The 2017 Rugby League World Cup will have its final this Saturday, December 2, in Brisbane Stadium (52,500) when Australia and England meet. Surprisingly, these two thirteens met in the opening match in the same pool when Australia triumphed 18-4.
The Aussies (Kangaroos), ten times previous winners of the RLWC, waltzed through their earlier matches, including a semi-final rout of Fiji 54-6. Valentine Holmes amassed six tries on the left wing.
For England, it marks their first final in 22-years, and only a controversial win over Tonga 20-18 advanced the Red Roses into the championship game. Tonga, surrounded by a sea of red clad supporters waving red and white flags (same two colors as England) trailed 20-0 with seven-minutes to play. The Pacific Islanders suddenly awoke and were only behind 20-18. In the waning minutes, it looked like a Tonga try only to be called back,
The attendance has been low, with only the England-Tonga match going over 40,000. In addition, the tournament was plagued by two negative incidents; one, two Scottish players were removed from a flight because of intoxication, and, a Lebanese player accused an English player of biting him. The latter claim proved false.
The oddest score was Fiji’s 4-2 win against New Zealand.
The USA lost all their three contests, scoring 12 points versus 168 against.
Australia is favored to win their eleventh title.