26 Oct 2022
What are the teams for New Zealand v Ireland men in the Rugby League World Cup?
The Kiwis are all but assured of their place in the quarters but Ireland must win and hope other results go their way in Group C
By Josh Graham
Ireland must beat the world’s No.1 side New Zealand on Friday night at Headingley to stand a chance of progressing into the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals.
The Wolfhounds lost a feisty encounter with Lebanon 32-14 on Sunday, meaning they must upset the unbeaten Kiwis and hope Jamaica can do them a favour against Michael Cheika’s men this Sunday.
On the other hand, 2008 winners New Zealand are all but guaranteed a spot in the last eight, where they exited the last edition in 2017 after defeat to Fiji and, as things stand, look like they may get a chance to avenge that result against the Bati.
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire can now call upon half-back Jahrome Hughes after the Melbourne Storm ace missed the wins over Lebanon and Jamaica with a thigh strain and he will partner Dylan Brown who has recovered from illness.
Also back in the fold is experienced forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves with the 33-year-old having served his three-match suspension picked up on NRL duty for the Sydney Roosters.
Captain Jesse Bromwich plus wings Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jordan Rapana return to the side having not featured against Jamaica, meaning there is no space for four-try hero Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Ireland coach Ged Corcoran will have to do without prop Liam Byrne after the Wigan Warriors middle picked up two separate one-match bans against Lebanon, while fellow front-rower Jaimin Jolliffe is included ahead of his own judiciary appeal tonight.
New Zealand: 1 Joey Manu, 2 Ronaldo Mulitalo, 17 Briton Nikora, 4 Peta Hiku, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Dylan Brown, 7 Jahrome Hughes, 8 Jess Bromwich (captain), 9 Brandon Smith, 10 James Fisher-Harris, 12 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 13 Joseph Tapine, 11 Isaiah Papali’I, 14 Kieran Foran, 18 Jared Warea-Hargreaves, 20 Isaac Liu, 21 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 23 Scott Sorensen
Ireland: 1 Richie Myler, 3 Ed Chamberlain, 4 Toby King, 5 Innes Senior, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Joe Keyes, 9 Josh Cook, 10 Jaimin Jolliffe, 11 James Bentley, 12 Frankie Halton, 13 George King (captain), 14 James McDonnell, 15 Harry Rushton, 16 Brendan O'Hagan, 17 Dan Norman, 18 Henry O'Kane, 20 Louis Senior, 21 Ronan Michael, 22 James Hasson
It is uncharted territory for both teams with New Zealand and Ireland never having met previously in a World Cup or any other international fixture.
Ireland have the worst completion rate and goalkicking percentage at the World Cup so far.
New Zealand record
New Zealand have won both of their Group C games so far at this World Cup and beat Tonga with a 26-6 victory in June, their first international in nearly two-and-a-half years amid the pandemic.
The 2008 winners look set to make it out of the group stage for the sixth successive World Cup.
Ireland first qualified for the Rugby League World Cup in 2000 as co-hosts, registering their best performance to date of fifth place.
They have featured in every tournament since, failing to advance from their group in 2017 despite two wins over Wales and Italy.
Sunday’s defeat to Lebanon ended a run of fine form which saw the Wolfhounds win their previous three men's internationals by an aggregate score of 115-14.
Players to watch
- Scrum-half Jahrome Hughes will make his World Cup debut for New Zealand. The 2021 Kiwi Player of the Year has scored two tries in his four previous international appearances.
- Louis Senior (Ireland) is joint second on the top try-scorers list at the World Cup so far with four, two apiece against Jamaica and Lebanon.
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