Meet men's Group C – Ireland, Jamaica, Lebanon and New Zealand

New Zealand headline Group C alongside Lebanon, Ireland and debutants Jamaica

14 Oct 2022

Meet men's Group C – Ireland, Jamaica, Lebanon and New Zealand

New Zealand headline Group C alongside Lebanon, Ireland and debutants Jamaica

By Josh Graham

IRELAND

Led by Hull KR prop George King and the first ever Ireland-born coach to take charge of the national side in Ged Corcoran, the Wolfhounds arrive in England in confident mood.

Not since 2000 have Ireland assembled as good a squad on paper with three-time NRL champion half-back Luke Keary and beaten Super League Grand Finalists Richie Myler and James Bentley all on board.

Captain King is joined by his younger brother Toby, who missed the 2017 World Cup through injury and subsequently represented England Knights.

Gold Coast Titans’ Jaimin Jolliffe, former Canberra Raider Harry Rushton, Warrington’s Robbie Mulhern and Wigan prop Liam Byrne will bring the physicality in the middle.

Ireland’s last international action came in 2019, so it may take them a while to get going but they will expect to at least match their previous best efforts as quarter-finalists in 2000 and 2008.


Sunday, October 16, Jamaica vs Ireland, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 5pm

Sunday, October 23, Lebanon vs Ireland, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 2.30pm

Friday, October 28, New Zealand vs Ireland, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 7.30pm

Most points in a World Cup match: Pat Richards (22) vs Samoa, 2008

Most goals in a World Cup match: Liam Finn (6) vs Italy, 2017

Most tries in a World Cup match: Pat Richards (3) vs Samoa, 2008/Damien Blanch (3) vs Tonga

Record World Cup points scored: 36-12 vs Italy, 2017

Record World Cup points conceded: 0-50 vs Australia, 2013

Previous record

2000: Quarter-finalist (lost 16-26 to England), 2008: Quarter-finalist (lost 14-30 to Fiji in semi-final qualifier) 2013: Fourth in group A (eliminated), 2017: Second in group C (eliminated)

JAMAICA

Jamaica are captained by Huddersfield Giants’ versatile Ashton Golding with Romeo Monteith coaching the Reggae Warriors in their first ever World Cup.

Golding is joined by clubmates Michael Lawrence – the first man born in the 1990s to play in Super League – and Kieran Rush with the rest of the squad being made up of Championship and League One players as well as six players from Jamaica’s domestic champions, Duhaney Park Red Sharks.

Jamaica were hoping to have both Young brothers in their ranks but after impressing in the NRL with Newcastle Knights, Dom has instead been selected for England with Alex representing their heritage.

They do have another set of brothers in tow with Sheffield Eagles winger Ben Jones-Bishop, a two-time Super League champion with Leeds Rhinos, and sibling Aaron, who plays for Cornwall, included.

The Reggae Warriors secured their place at the tournament by beating the USA 16-10 in 2018 and drew 30-30 with Scotland earlier this year before losing 28-12 to Cumbria in their warm-up game.


Sunday, October 16, Jamaica vs Ireland, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 5pm

Saturday, October 22, New Zealand vs Jamaica, MKM Stadium, Hull, 7.30pm

Sunday, October 30, Lebanon vs Jamaica, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 12pm

LEBANON

Coach Michael Cheika is balancing his role as Lebanon head coach with leading Argentina in rugby union but can call upon captain Mitchell Moses who made the NRL Grand Final with the Paramatta Eels but missed out on Australia selection.

Wests Tigers’ exciting playmaker Adam Doueihi and experienced South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Josh Mansour, who debuted back in 2009, are two more big names to bolster the Lebanese ranks with two domestic players in Toufic El Hajj and Atef Hamdan also included in the squad.

Moses, Doueihi and Wigan’s Abbas Miski – the only Super League star in Cheika’s squad – are among several players to have made four World Cup appearances, the joint most by any Lebanon player.

The Cedars made the quarter-finals Down Under in 2017 and will be targeting victories over Jamaica and Ireland in order to replicate that result this time around in what is just their third World Cup appearance.

Rugby league is one of the few sports where Lebanon are represented on the international stage and after beating Wales 38-22 in their final warm-up match, there is plenty of cause for optimism.


Sunday, October 16, New Zealand vs Lebanon, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, 7.30pm

Sunday, October 23, Lebanon vs Ireland, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 2.30pm

Sunday, October 30, Lebanon vs Jamaica, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 12pm

Most points in a World Cup match: Hazem El Masri (14) vs Cook Islands, 2000

Most goals in a World Cup match: Mitchell Moses (5) vs Tonga, 2017

Most tries in a World Cup match: Abbas Miski (2) vs Tonga, 2017

Record World Cup points scored: 29-18 vs France, 2017

Record World Cup points conceded: 0-64 vs New Zealand, 2000

Previous record

2000: Third in Group 2 (eliminated), 2017: Quarter-finalist (lost 24-22 to Tonga)

NEW ZEALAND

Led by Michael Maguire and skippered by the experienced Dolphins-bound Jesse Bromwich, New Zealand have made the final in three of the last four Rugby League World Cups.

Their crowning glory came in 2008 when they defeated Australia 34-20 to take the title and the Kiwis arrive in England as the world’s No.1 ranked side looking to match that achievement.

The New Zealand squad is packed with experience and boasts six players that featured in the NRL Grand Final between the Penrith Panthers and Paramatta Eels.

Brandon Smith is a world class operator at dummy half and has an inbuilt connection with long-time Melbourne Storm colleague and scrum-half Jahrome Hughes, although Smith is heading off to Sydney Roosters next year.

There, he will join Joey Manu, who stole the show in the 22-6 win over Tonga in the mid-season Test and will line up at full-back while NRL champion James Fisher-Harris is the eye-catching name in the forward pack after a terrific season as Penrith’s enforcer.

There are only two uncapped players in the Kiwi ranks with Canberra Raiders centre Sebastian Kris, who has returned to the game in style since taking a year out to look after his mental health, and Jeremy Marshall-King who was involved in the wider squad against Tonga.

Maguire’s big call was leaving out New Zealand’s all-time leading points scorer Shaun Johnson with Hughes, Dylan Brown and veteran Kieran Foran preferred as the options in the halves.


Sunday, October 16, New Zealand vs Lebanon, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, 7.30pm

Saturday, October 22, New Zealand vs Jamaica, MKM Stadium, Hull, 7.30pm

Friday, October 28, New Zealand vs Ireland, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 7.30pm

Most points in a World Cup match: Tasesa Lavea (32) vs Cook Islands, 2000

Most goals in a World Cup match: Tasesa Lavea (12) vs Cook Islands, 2000

Most tries in a World Cup match: Manu Vatuvei (4) vs England, 2008

Record World Cup points scored: 84-10 vs Cook Islands, 2000

Record World Cup points conceded: 19-53 vs Great Britain, 1972

Previous record

1954: Fourth in group, 1957: Third in group, 1960: Third in group, 1968: Fourth in group, 1970: Fourth in group, 1972: Fourth in group, 1975: Fourth in group, 1977: Third in group, 1985-88: Runner-up (lost 12-25 to Australia in Final), 1989-92: Third in group, 1995: Semi-finalist (lost 20-30 to Australia after extra-time), 2000: Runner-up (lost 12-40 to Australia in Final), 2008: Winner (defeated Australia 34-20 in Final), 2013: Runner-up (lost 2-34 to Australia in Final), 2017: Quarter-finalist (lost 2-4 to Fiji)

The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets

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