2021 Rugby League World Cup

Australia take on New Zealand in Leeds on Friday night with a place in the World Cup final up for grabs.

Old enemies, bitter foes and neighbours, the Kangaroos and Kiwis will do battle at Elland Road.

With Australia the defending world champions, and New Zealand the number one ranked team in the world, there is bound to be fireworks in west Yorkshire.

The green and gold have looked the goods after they brushed past Lebanon easily in the quarter-finals.

The men in black have not been as convincing, pushed all the way in a classic quarter-final in Hull against Fiji.

But the Kiwis have the class and the talent to topple the Kangaroos at the home of Leeds United.

New Zealand have one just one change, with Moses Leota returning to the 19-man squad and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves making way.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is also in contention to play in the semi-final.

According to reports, Australia will have Nathan Cleary starting at halfback, with Daly Cherry-Evans missing out.

Ben Hunt is to start at hooker, with Harry Grant on the bench. Mal Meninga is expected to go with four forwards and no backs on his bench.

The Kangaroos have not missed a World Cup final since 1954. Their last loss in a tournament decider came in 2008 against the Kiwis.

The two teams have been playing each other for over 100 years and no team has beaten Australia more often than New Zealand, apart from Great Britain.

Many of the Kiwis and Kangaroos players are teammates at clubs in the NRL such as James Tedesco and Joey Manu at the Roosters, and Harry Grant and the Bromwich brothers at Melbourne.

The semi-final promises to be engrossing, high-quality clash that will captivate the rugby league world.

New Zeland Kiwis Team

SQUAD NO. PLAYERS NAME HERITAGE NUMBER
16 NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA # 804
8 JESSE BROMWICH (c) # 775
12 KENNY BROMWICH # 796
6 DYLAN BROWN # 826
10 JAMES FISHER-HARRIS # 801
14 KIERAN FORAN # 757
4 PETA HIKU # 781
7 JAHROME HUGHES # 819
15 MOSES LEOTA #827
20 ISAAC LIU # 805
1 JOSEPH MANU # 815
2 RONALDO MULITALO # 824
21 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD # 820
17 BRITON NIKORA # 818
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I # 817
5 JORDAN RAPANA # 798
9 BRANDON SMITH # 816
13 JOSEPH TAPINE # 800
19 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK # 794

Australian Kangaroos Team

  1. Josh Addo-Carr
  2. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  3. Pat Carrigan
  4. Daly Cherry-Evans
  5. Nathan Cleary
  6. Reuben Cotter
  7. Angus Crichton
  8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  9. Harry Grant
  10. Valentine Holmes
  11. Ben Hunt
  12. Liam Martin
  13. Latrell Mitchell
  14. Cameron Munster
  15. Cameron Murray (vc)
  16. James Tedesco (c)
  17. Jake Trbojevic
  18. Jack Wighton
  19. Isaah Yeo (vc)

Fite

John Davidson
John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.