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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

November’s 2016 Four Nations tournament guide

THERE is still some rugby league to be played in 2016 with the Four Nations kicking off in England at the end of the month.
Look no further than this Ultimate Guide to the Four Nations for all the info you need for that last gasp of rugby league goodness before the dreaded summer months kick in and we all have to pretend to like other sports for a while.
All kick-offs are listed at AEDT time.
Round 1
Saturday 29th of October
Australia vs. Scotland at Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull, 6:00am
Sunday 30th of October
England vs. New Zealand at John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, 12:20am.
Round 2
Sunday, 6th of November
England vs. Scotland, 4:30am
New Zealand vs. Australia, 7:00am
Both matches will be played at Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
Round 3
Saturday, 12th of November
New Zealand vs. Scotland, Zebra Claims Stadium, Workington, 7:00am
England vs. Australia, London Olympic Stadium, London, 2:30am
Monday, 21st of November, TBA vs. TBA, Anfield, Liverpool, 12:30am.

You know the look of this squad by now. Australia have won both of their Test matches this season under Mal Meninga and were terrific in their 26-6 victory over New Zealand in Perth last week. Test rookies Shannon Boyd, Valentine Holmes and Tyson Frizell were all impressive on debut and Australia still boast some of the best players in the world at all positions. They are deserved tournament favourites.
Squad: Cameron Smith (c), Darius Boyd, Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan, Blake Ferguson, Valentine Holmes, Josh Mansour, Greg Inglis, Justin O’Neill, James Maloney, Michael Morgan, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Shannon Boyd, David Klemmer, Matt Scott, Aaron Woods, Jake Friend, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday, Trent Merrin, Jake Trbojevic. Coach: Mal Meninga.
New Zealand
The Kiwis were disappointing in their first match under David Kidwell. They looked off the pace and short of a good run in their loss to Australia but will be heartened by the fact they managed to keep pace with the Kangaroos for 65 minutes despite playing well below their best. They have the greater scope to improve and usually develop well as tournaments continue and are the current Four Nations champions after taking out the 2014 title.
After all the talk about picking Australian based players through ancestry (the Morris twins, Trent Hodkinson and Chris McQueen were all rumoured to be getting a run) Wayne Bennett has instead gone for a straight up Pommy side containing eight NRL based players. They’ll be led by Sam Burgess, who heads a fearsome forward pack, but the real intruige comes in the halves where Bennett must choose between Gareth Widdop, Wigan star George Williams, Huddersfield veteran Kevin Brown and Castleford lynch pin Luke Gale.
Putting the four in Four Nations can be a tough task but the Scots have a very talented squad at their disposal. Captain Danny Brough is the star of the show having led the Bravehearts at the 2008 and 2013 World Cups with the former Man of Steel one of the most talented players in history to play all his international football with a second tier nation. Scotland will also boast NRL players Lachlan Coote, Luke Douglas, Kane Linnett and Eaun Aitken and Super League regulars Matty Russell, Ryan Brierly and Adam Walker. Wigan winger Lewis Tierney, the son of English dual international Jason Robinson, will also be in the frame for his Test debut. They’re the fifth minnow side to play in the Four Nations after France (2009), Papua New Guinea (2010), Wales (2011) and Samoa (2014).