Australia will be aiming to take out all three divisions of this year’s Festival of World Cups in Western Sydney as the event draws to a conclusion this weekend.
The home nation has qualified for the final of Defence Force Men’s competition against Fiji at Pepper Stadium (Penrith) on Sunday 16 July, and the Universities team will be aiming to join them when they meet England in a semi-final on Friday at Windsor Sporting Complex.
The Defence Force Women’s team are also looking to wrap up the international series against New Zealand on Friday 14 July at Wentworthville’s Ringrose Park.
“The standard of play so far across all the competitions has been very high and with the focus now on the finals there should be close scorelines,” Festival of World Cups 2017 Tournament Director Graham McNaney said.
The other semi-final of the Universities World Cup features Scotland against Pacific Islands, whose coaching staff is headed by former New Zealand Test forward Tony Puletua and includes fellow ex-Penrith player Lino Salafai and former Kiwis centre Willy Talau.
Australia was undefeated in the pool stages, while England, Scotland and Pacific Islands each won two of their three matches.
The defending champions are also yet to taste defeat in the Defence Forces Men’s competition but Fiji will be a formidable opposition for Australia after scoring 104 points in their three matches so far.
“There has been strong interest in the pool matches and we are hoping for good crowds at the semi-finals and finals,” Mr McNaney said.
All three finals will be streamed live on the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Facebook page.
The user-pays Festival of World Cups marks the start of a huge six months of international Rugby League with the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup to take place in France from July 20, the first-ever standalone women’s World Cup to be staged in Sydney during November, and the men’s tournament to be hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Schedule of Events (all times stated are local)
Friday 12 July
Windsor Sporting Complex; Universities:
11am: Wales v Ireland (5 v 6 playoff)
1pm: Australia v England (1st semi-final)
3pm: Scotland v Pacific Islands (2nd semi-final)
Ringrose Park (Wenthworthville); Defence Forces:
1pm: England v New Zealand Men (3 v 4 playoff)
3pm: Australia v New Zealand Women (final)
Sunday 14 July
Pepper Stadium, Penrith
2pm: Defence Forces Men’s Final
4.45pm: Universities Final
Tickets sold at Gate Entry (Cash Only)
Friday, 14 July
$5 children and concessions and $10 adults
Sunday, 16 July (Finals)
$5 children and concessions, $15 adults and $25 Family (2 children/2 adults)
For scores, match reports and tables, head to rlwc2017.com