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TV: FOX (US)
Ireland vs Italy
Two teams look to open their accounts in the Rugby League World Cup when Italy face Ireland at Barlow Park in Cairns. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 3pm (AEDT).
In a clash between two teams whose performance at this World Cup is tough to predict, the weight of opinion seems to suggest that the Italians will be too strong for the Irish.However, there is a sprinkling of talent through both sides and knowing how this will play out in reality is very much guesswork.
Already we have seen a few teams, Australia included, struggling with combinations and this match could be another case in point with many players having little or no football in recent weeks.It is the case for all teams and something that coaches will attempt to combat with minimal risk early on, in order to establish a base on which to work.For Cameron Ciraldo’s Italians, they go in as strong favourites with all eyes set to be on James Tedesco at full-back and Paul Vaughan up front.
With veterans Mark Minichiello and Terry Campese providing experience and leadership, the Italians look a strong squad.
Mark Aston’s Irish won’t have as many familiar names to local viewers yet also have some talented players in their squad.
Liam Finn is a proven competitor, as is Wigan hooker Michael McIlorum. A handful of others have Super League experience with big clubs and if combinations can be struck between them, the Irish should have a better World Cup than their last effort where than finished well off the pace.