Well – I certainly don’t think anyone, and I include myself, saw that coming!

Rugby League World Cup betting, with Betfred

I’m talking of course about our blitzing of Samoa in the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Now I did say we’d win in last week’s column, but never did I expect to prevail in the manner we did.

Scoring ten tries in the 60-6 demolition, against a side very much fancied to challenge for silverware in the tournament, was a huge statement laid out by Shaun Wane and his players. It’s no doubt boosted the confidence within the England camp for the rest of the tournament.

Betfred, the principal partners of the three England World Cup teams, have England as the biggest market movers, from 16/1 before a ball was kicked at St James Park down to 5/1 third favourites, behind Australia 1/2 and New Zealand at 7/2.

I thought every player in an England jersey did the country proud out there on Saturday … but there were some stand out performances too. As predicted, Saints star Jack Welsby most definitely announced his arrival on the international stage.

Scoring the opening try, followed by two try assists, got England off to the perfect start. Along with a resurgent George Williams, we had a halfback pairing who were a constant threat to the Samoan defence.

Add to that, young NRL stars Dom Young and Herbie Farnworth, along with the experienced Kallum Watkins who all added the strike (and size!) we will need to help lift the trophy come Old Trafford on November 19.

I must give a big wrap to the Aussie-based Victor Radley, who pledged his allegiance to England due to his father’s UK heritage. I’ve always admired the way he plays the game … at full tilt!

An aggressive defender who also carries the ball with the same intent. He set the standard of this England performance and his flexibility was key, with his ability to move from loose forward to the hooking role.

It was a very good day for sure, but I’m sure Shaun Wane brought it all back to earth when the team returned to camp on Monday, as nothing is won yet. The next job is plotting the downfall of France, this Saturday, at the home of Bolton Wanderers.

In front of what is looking like a sell-out crowd, following that electric start in Newcastle, the players will be aiming for two wins from two with Greece to play, and securing top spot in Group A, giving us the best side of the draw come the knockout stages.

Waney will be looking to keep that momentum now, but no doubt will make a number of rotational changes, keeping certain players fresh for the latter stages.

France, who have a vast number of Super League players from both Catalan and Toulouse, will be out to make a statement too, following a good opening win themselves against a resilient Greek side.

One guy I said to look out for, Ben Garcia, picked up the man of the match performance and will be again looking to lead this big French pack against the much fancied England.

New Saints’ Assistant coach and current French Head Coach Laurent Frayssinous believes this is the strongest French side he’s ever seen, and is keen to keep banging the drum for what French RL can bring both on the international and Betfred Super League stages.

Betfred however clearly don’t believe France can compete with this England team … as they have the home side a massive 1/100 favourite to win this game. Also, they are backing the new England poster-boy Don Young to score the opening try … clearly following his three tries in the last two games … with odds as short as 6/1.

I’m going for a convincing England win by 30 points or more which is odds-on at Betfred, but doubled up with Saints flyer Tommy Makinson to cross the whitewash first that’s a tempting 7/1.

Rugby League World Cup betting, with Betfred