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England now second favourites to win the Rugby League World Cup

England are now second favourites to win the Rugby League World Cup according to bookmakers.

Ranked at 20/1 fifth favourites prior to the tournament, Shaun Wane’s side have been almost faultless up to the semi-final stage and now have the tag of second favourites with sponsors Betfred.

England will face Samoa in the semi-final, a team they hammered 60-6 in the opening game of the tournament, but they are expected to be run much closer this time around, with the game played at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Since their humiliation at St James’ Park in week one, Samoa have won every game and overcame Pacific rivals Tonga 20-18 in an epic quarter-final in Warrington on Sunday.

Whether that has taken petrol out of the tank of Matt Parish’s team or whether it adds to their momentum remains to be seen, but they will need no motivation given how they were humbled by England in Newcastle.

For Wane’s men their form and consistency has been exemplary so far, but one slip up in London and it could be all over, but up until now, England deserve their tag as second favourites.

Sponsors Betfred price England at 4/1 to win the competition, with their semi-final opponents the rank outsiders for the tournament at 16/1, a similar price to what they were at the start of the World Cup.

The bookies make reigning champions Australia heavy outright favourites at 4/11 to retain their world crown as they prepare to take on number one-ranked nation New Zealand in the other semi-final.

The Kiwis have drifted out to 15/2 to become world champions after struggling to beat Fiji in their quarter final – Michael Maguire’s team won 24-18 in Hull but were helped by a controversial captain’s challenge call.

In terms of the individual semi-final matches it’s no surprise, given the outright odds, that both Australia and England are backed to win their respective semi-finals comfortably.

England are 2/7 to overcome 13/5 Samoa, while Australia are 2/9 to come through against 10/3 New Zealand. A £10 stake on a Samoa-New Zealand upset double would return £156.

England are made 10-point favourites while the Kangaroos are backed to win by 12 – whether the odds reflect reality remains to be seen.

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