Group A: England, Samoa, France, Greece
Group B: Australia, Fiji, Scotland, Italy
Group C: New Zealand, Lebanon, Jamaica, Ireland
Group D: Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Wales, Cook Islands
The draw for the group matches took place at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
There is some great Stadia lined up for this tournament.
The opening match is at St Jame’s Park England vs Samoa.
The Emirates London hosts one of the semi finals.
This year White Hart Lane will host an Ashes rugby test match.
The paucity of competing nations means there are some mismatches in the group games with seeded nations certain to progress.
Nations who have fallen by the wayside from recent tournaments include South Africa, Russia and USA,
Unlike its union equivalent there is no Japan, Argentina or Canada.
The Pacific Island teams have all improved. PNG Fiji and Tonga enjoyed recent wins over Great Britain and Australia.
My Quarter final selections
England Samoa (Several players from the NRL will opt to play for them. I don’t think SBW will be one of them, 36 by then)
Tonga Papua, New Guinea
New Zealand, Ireland or Lebanon.
Lebanon and Ireland can both provide teams of hugely varying strengths and I’ll wait to see their squads.