A guide to the Rugby League World Cup

After as five-year gap, the Rugby League World Cup is back. Venues all over Europe will stage games as 14 nations look to battle their way through to Old Trafford and a place in the final on November 30...

Last Updated: 23/10/13 11:34am

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The Rugby League World Cup: Will someone in an England shirt be holding it aloft on November 30?

The Rugby League World Cup: Will someone in an England shirt be holding it aloft on November 30?

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Ahead of the tournament, Sky Sports brings you a guide to all the nations involved, explains the format of the competition and also the places where the games will be staged.

Could England lift the trophy on home turf? Can New Zealand retain it after their famous win in 2008, or will Australia claim it back under the guidance of skipper Cameron Smith and coach Tim Sheens?

And what of the other teams in action - could Danny Brough inspire Scotland to reach the knockout stages and beyond?

As ever, we welcome your feedback at the bottom of the page in the comments section. Give us your predictions, players to watch and potential upsets. NOW LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

FORMAT

Four groups with eight teams going through to the knockout stages. However, it isn't quite so simple as two from each.

Group A and B both contain four nations, and the top three from each will qualify for the quarter-finals. The remaining two berths will go to one team each from Group C and D. With those two only containing three countries each, there is one additional inter-group game to make sure everyone plays three times in the round-robin section. Got all that? Of course you have.

Quarter-final schedule:

1-Winner of Group B v Winner of Group C

2-Winner of Group A v Winner of Group D

3-Runner-up Group A v Third place Group B

4-Runner-up Group B v Third place Group A

Semi-final schedule:

1-Winner of QF1 v Winner of QF3

2-Winner of QF2 v Winner of QF4

VENUES

Tournament organisers decided to spread the wealth. As well as plenty of rugby league strongholds, games will take place in Avignon, Bristol, Cardiff, Limerick and Neath. Pricing has been set to try and make sure as many attend as possible - the aim is to showcase the sport and try and attract new supporters, as well as the legions of long-term fans. Wembley Stadium will also be used, staging both semi-finals on the same Saturday in November, but the final will once again be held at Old Trafford. The last time the showpiece took place in Manchester Australia defeated New Zealand 40-12 in front of nearly 45,000 spectators.

Full list of venues:

Avignon (Parc des Sports)

Bristol (Memorial Stadium)

Cardiff (Millennium Stadium)

Halifax (The Shay)

Huddersfield (John Smith's Stadium)

Hull (KC Stadium & Craven Park)

Leeds (Headingley)

Leigh (Leigh Sports Village)

Limerick (Thomond Park)

London (Wembley)

Manchester (Old Trafford)

Neath (The Gnoll)

Perpignan (Stade Gilbert Brutus)

Rochdale (Spotland)

Salford (Salford City Stadium)

St Helens (Langtree Park)

Warrington (Halliwell Jones Stadium)

Wigan (DW Stadium)

Workington (Derwent Park)

Wrexham (The Racecourse Ground)

TEAMS

GROUP A

Australia
Despite coach Tim Sheens' best attempts to try and deflect some of the pressure ("New Zealand are definitely going to be the team to beat", he claimed) the Kangaroos are heavy, HEAVY favourites to regain the trophy they lost to their trans-Tasman rivals five years ago on home soil. Their squad does include three uncapped players - including Boyd Cordner from newly-crowned NRL champions Sydney Roosters - but injuries have denied them the services of Justin Hodges, brothers Brett and Glenn Stewart, and Anthony Watmough. Still, Australia have plenty of stars left to shine, none bigger than captain Cameron Smith. Well, perhaps Billy Slater is their no 1. Or maybe Jonathan Thurston. Or even Greg Inglis. Well, you get the picture.

Squad: Greg Bird (Gold Coast), Darius Boyd (Newcastle), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla), Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Greg Inglis (South Sydney), Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters), Luke Lewis (Cronulla), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra), Josh Morris (Canterbury Bulldogs), Nate Myles (Gold Coast), Josh Papalii (Canberra), Corey Parker (Brisbane), Matthew Scott (North Queensland), Billy Slater (Melbourne), Cameron Smith (Melbourne), James Tamou (North Queensland), Brent Tate (North Queensland), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland).

Head coach: Tim Sheens

Greg Inglis: A sizeable asset for Australia in the centres

England
1972 was the last time anyone but Australia or New Zealand lifted the World Cup. Back then it was Great Britain who triumphed in France, but now the home nations have gone their separate ways. England are the ones with seemingly the best chance of glory, particularly as they have the added bonus of home advantage. There is a family feel to the squad named by coach Steve McNamara, with three Burgess boys in the 24-man party (poor Luke was the only one to miss out). Like the Burgess', James Graham and Gareth Widdop offer NRL experience while Sam Tomkins will be eager to impress ahead of his move to the New Zealand Warriors. There was a real scrap for pack places (even with Gareth Ellis announcing his international retirement) but the half-back combination, whoever it may be, could be key.

Squad: Carl Ablett (Leeds), Tom Briscoe (Hull FC), George Burgess (South Sydney), Sam Burgess (South Sydney), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney), Rob Burrow (Leeds), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Liam Farrell (Wigan), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Chris Hill (Warrington), Gareth Hock (Widnes), Michael McIllorum (Wigan), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne).

Head coach: Steve McNamara

Fiji
Anything England can do, Fiji can do better. As well as the tournament seeing a trio of Burgess brothers there are also three Sims - Korbin, Tariq and Ashton - while their squad also contains two Millards and a pair of Naiqamas. However, the biggest name for 'The Bati' (not in terms of characters, that honour goes to Semi Radradra Turagasoli Waqavatu) is skipper Petero Civoniceva. He is joined by another former Kangaroo in New South Wales winger Akuila Uate. The pair will come up against their former international team-mates in St Helens on November 2. Their key clash, however, seems likely to be against Ireland in the battle to finish third, There is just one Super League representative in Catalan Dragons back Daryl Millard, who will get the chance to play alongside sibling Ryan.

Squad: Peni Botiki (Saru Dragons), Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla), Petero Civoniceva (Redcliffe Dolphins), Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters), Aaron Groom (Asquith Magpies), Ilisavani Jegesa (Nabua Broncos), Marika Koroibete (Wests Tigers), Apisai Koroisau (South Sydney), Daryl Millard (Catalan Dragons), Ryan Millard (Burwood United), Kevin Naiqama (Newcastle), Wes Naiqama (Penrith), Alipate Noilea (Collegians Illawarra), Tikiko Noke (Lautoka Crushers), Vitale Junior (Cronulla), Ashton Sims (North Queensland), Korbin Sims (Newcastle), Tariq Sims (North Queensland), James Storer (Collegians Illawarra), Kaliova Nauqe (Fassifern Queensland), Akuila Uate (Newcastle), Eloni Tui Michael Vunakece (Wyong Roos), Sisa Waqa (Melbourne), Semi Radradra Turagasoli Waqavatu (Parramatta)

Head coach: Rick Stone

Pat Richards: Will be looking for further success in 2013

Ireland
In 2008 Ireland upset the odds to get out of their group and reach the semi-final qualifier, where they were beaten by their 2013 rivals Fiji. They had stunned Samoa in Parramatta having only reached the main event after pipping Lebanon in qualifying on points difference. There are nine survivors in their squad from five years ago, including captain Liam Finn. Pat Richards - whose dad was born in Ireland - is also back after helping Wigan win the Grand Final, while there are the Grix brothers, Scott and Simon. There is some NRL experience too, none more so than former Australia international Brett White. Coach Mark Aston was given a boost when Ben Currie opted for Ireland instead of England. No warm-up game means they will have to hit the ground running against the Fijians on October 28.

Squad: Dave Allen (Widnes), Luke Ambler (Halifax), Bob Beswick (Leigh), Damien Blanch (Catalan Dragons), Danny Bridge (Warrington), Ben Currie (Warrington), Liam Finn (Featherstone), Simon Finnigan (Leigh), Scott Grix (Huddersfield), Simon Grix (Warrington), Kurt Haggerty (Barrow), James Hasson (Manly Sea Eagles), Rory Kostjayn (North Queensland), Stuart Littler (Leigh), Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington), James Mendeika (Warrington), Anthony Mullally (Huddersfield), Eamon O'Carroll (Widnes), Apirana Pewhairangi (Parramatta), Pat Richards (Wigan), Colton Roche (Sheffield), Marc Sneyd (Salford), Josh Toole (St George Illawarra), Brett White (Canberra).

Head coach: Mark Aston

GROUP B

New Zealand
In, out. In, out. Shake it all about. Well, actually it was a case of out and then in, as Sonny Bill Williams had a late change of heart and made himself available for selection. The Kiwis duly took him back faster than a jilted lover, dumping poor Melbourne Storm back-rower Tohu Harris to make way for the cross-code star. Sonny Bill's selection is a real boost for the reigning champions, particularly after they lost 2008 skipper Benji Marshall to rugby union and centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall to injury (he played over an hour in the NRL Grand Final with a broken jaw, so deserves a rest). Simon Mannering, one of seven survivors from five years ago, has been named captain and former Super League trio Greg Eastwood, Thomas Leuluai and Sam Moa have all been included by coach Stephen Kearney.

Squad: Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney), Josh Hoffman (Brisbane), Krisnan Inu (Canterbury Bulldogs), Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury Bulldogs), Thomas Leuluai (New Zealand Warriors), Kevin Locke (New Zealand Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Simon Mannering (New Zealand Warriors), Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury Bulldogs), Elijah Taylor (New Zealand Warriors), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith), Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters).

Head coach: Stephen Kearney

Sonny Bill Williams: His u-turn boosts both the Kiwis and the tournament

France
Vive le France! The very first nation to host the Rugby League World Cup back in 1954 (when they lost to Great Britain in the final) will get the chance to play in front of a home crowd this year, as they take on New Zealand in Avignon and then Samoa in Perpignan. Stade Gilbert Brutus should feel familiar to plenty in coach Richard Agar's squad since his party is dominated by Catalan Dragons. If they aren't currently at the Super League club, then most of them have turned out for it at some stage. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but the fact that they've played so often together should be a real benefit for the French. Long-time Dragon Clint Greenshields is the only non-European based selection in a party that will be led by the experienced Olivier Elima. While a repeat of their final appearance in '54 is highly unlikely, the knockout stages are a realistic target.

Squad: Jean Philippe Baile (Catalan Dragons), William Barthau (Catalan Dragons), Andrew Bentley (Toulouse), Kane Bentley (Toulouse), Thomas Bosc (Catalan Dragons), Damien Cardace (Catalan Dragons), Remi Casty (Catalan Dragons), Vincent Duport (Catalan Dragons), Olivier Elima (Catalan Dragons), Morgan Escare (Catalan Dragons), Theo Fages (Salford), Jamal Fakir (Catalan Dragons), Benjamin Garcia (Brisbane), Tony Gigot (Avignon), Clint Greenshields (North Queensland), Younes Khattabi (Carcassone), Kevin Larroyer (Catalan Dragons), Antoni Maria (Catalan Dragons), Gregory Mounis (Catalan Dragons), Eloi Pelissier (Catalan Dragons), Sebastian Raguin (St Esteve), Mickael Simon (Catalan Dragons), Cyril Stacul (Lezignan), Frederic Vaccari (Catalan Dragons).

Head coach: Richard Agar

Papua New Guinea
The format has been a little kinder to Papua New Guinea this time around. In the last World Cup they were the lambs to the salughter in the top pool, going up against Australia, England and New Zealand. While they will face the Kiwis again this time around, they will be confident of finishing in one of the three qualifying places from their group. Former Wigan scrum-half Adrian Lam is their coach and there is a sprinkling of Super League talent in his squad in the form of Wakefield hooker Paul Aiton and Huddersfield second-rower Jason Chan. Hull KR fans will also get a chance to see new recruit Neville Costigan in action. The Kumuls will hope to match their previous best World Cup achievement and reach the quarter-finals.

Squad: Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Wellington Albert (Lae Tigers), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Chan (Huddersfield), Neville Costigan (Newcastle), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Roger Laka (Enga Mioks), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Bosam McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Parker (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Francis Paniu (Rabaul Gurias), James Segeyaro (Penrith), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)

Head coach: Adrian Lam

Sia Soliola: The St Helens forward is part of Samoa's squad

Samoa
The Samoans will be grateful not to see Ireland in their group this time around - in 2000 a defeat to the men in green condemned them to a heavy defeat to Australia in the quarter-finals, while five years ago the Irish upset the odds to beat Samoa and knock them out in the round-robin stages. Their cause this year has not been helped by the loss of Warrington-bound forward Roy Asotasi, former Wigan front man Jeff Lima and also Steve Matai. Coach Matt Parish (remember him, Salford fans?) opted to leave out Salford-bound pair Francis Meli and Tony Puletua but Super League is represented in the squad by St Helens' Sia Soliola and Harrison Hansen of Wigan. They won't lack for power and the appointment of Sean Long as Parish's assistant means they should be entertaining to watch at the very least.

Squad: Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Wellington Albert (Lae Tigers), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Cha (Huddersfield), Neville Costigan (Newcastle), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Roger Laka (Enga Mioks), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Bosam McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Parker (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Francis Paniu (Rabaul Gurias), James Segeyaro (Penrith), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)

Head coach: Matt Parish

GROUP C

Scotland
Having failed to get out of their group in 2008, Scotland will be eager to make sure they make amends this time around. Only points difference cost them Down Under last time out but with Danny Brough in their side they shouldn't have trouble in scoring this year. Super League's newly-crowned Man of Steel wasn't deemed good enough for England, so committed himself to the country where his grandfather hailed from. Although Adam Walker was one of several injuries for coach Steve McCormack to deal with, denying him the chance to play alongside brother Josh, there are still three pairs of siblings in the squad. Josh Barlow has been drafted in to join brother Sam, while Ian and Andrew Henderson were already included. The Workington duo of Callum and Brett Phillips will feel right at home when Scotland face Tonga and then Italy at Derwent Park.

Squad: Danny Addy (Bradford), Sam Barlow (Halifax), Danny Brough (Huddersfield), Brett Carter (Workington), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast), Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield), Ben Fisher (London Broncos), Ben Hellewell (Featherstone), Andrew Henderson (Sheffield Eagles), Ian Henderson (Catalan Dragons), Alex Hurst (London Broncos), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes), Kane Linnett (Gold Coast), Rhys Lovegrove (Hull KR), Gareth Moore (Batley), Brett Phillips (Workington), Matthew Russell (Gold Coast), David Scott (Featherstone), Mitchell Stringer (Sheffield Eagles), Alex Szostak (Sheffield Eagles), Adam Walker (Hull KR), Jonathan Walker (Castleford), Peter Wallace (Brisbane), Oliver Wilkes (Wakefield).

Head coach: Steve McCormack

Danny Brough: England's loss is Scotland's gain

Tonga
The World Cup has not been too kind to Tonga in the past - they failed to pass the pool stages in the last two tournaments, finishing seventh in '08 after thrashing Scotland 48-0 in a play-off. This time around can they clear the first hurdle and set up a potential showdown with probable Group B winners New Zealand in the last eight? Well, coach Charlie Tonga (that is not a misprint) has included Huddersfield Giant Ukuma Ta'ai along with future Hull forward Mickey Paea and former Black and Whites pack star Willie Manu. The wonderfully-named Fuifui Moimoi and Sika Manu are two former New Zealand internationals available but Sam Moa was lost to the Kiwis. There's an old Kangaroo in Brent Kite too, so Tonga won't lack for momentum up front. However, the key to their hopes could be how half-backs Samisoni Langi and Daniel Foster go behind a powerful pack.

Squad: Sosaia Feki (Cronulla), Glen Fisi'iahi (New Zealand Warriors), Mahe Fonua (Melbourne), Daniel Foster (Penrith), Sydney Havea (Liahona Old Boys), Siliva Havili (New Zealand Warriors), Konrad Hurrell (New Zealand Warriors), Brent Kite (Manly Sea Eagles), Samsoni Langi (Sydney Roosters), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle), Willie Manu (St Helens), Sika Manu (Penrith), Nesiasi Mataitonga (Cronulla), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Wests Tigers), Mickey Paea (Hull KR), Patrick Politini (Cronulla), Nafe Seluini (Sydney Roosters), Ukuma Ta'ai (Huddersfield), Jorge Taufua (Manly Sea Eagles), Jason Taumololo (North Queensland), Peni Terepo (Parramatta), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), Siosa Vave (Parramatta)

Head coach: Charlie Tonga

Italy
The Azzurri will make their Rugby League World Cup debut this year having come through the European qualification process. They emphatically defeated Russia and Serbia to such an extent that a draw against Lebanon in their final pool game was enough to seal them the 14th and final berth in the tournament on points difference. Coach Carlo Napolitano played briefly for Salford and Swinton during his career but he can lean on a wealth of experience in the form of skipper Anthony Minichello, who recently led the Sydney Roosters to NRL Grand Final glory Down Under. He is not the only player in the squad with NRL experience - another Minichello is present in the form of forward Mark, while St Helens' Anthony Laffranchi has switched his national allegiance from Australia. However, the Italians were dealt a blow when Terry Campese - nephew of rugby union legend David - withdrew from the initial party due to injury, club coming out on top over country.

Squad: Christophe Calegari (Lezignan), Gioele Celerino (North West Roosters), Chris Centrone (North Sydney), Fabrizio Ciaurro (Brescia RL), Cameron Ciraldo (Penrith), Ben Falcone (Souths Logan Magpies), Sam Gardel (Souths Logan Magpies), Ryan Ghetti (Northern Pride), Aiden Guerra (Sydney Roosters), Gavin Hiscox (Central Capras), Anthony Laffranchi (St Helens), Joshua Mantellato (Newcastle), Vic Mauro (Salford), Anthony Minichiello (Sydney Roosters), Mark Minichiello (Gold Coast), Raymond Nasso (Avignon), Dean Parata (Parramatta), Joel Riethmuller (North Queensland), James Saltonstall (Warrington), Brendan Santi (Wests Tigers), Kade Snowden (Cronulla), James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Paul Vaughan (Canberra)

Head coach: Carlo Napolitano

GROUP D

Cook Islands
Having managed a draw and two defeats in their only previous World Cup appearance back in 2000, 'The Kukis' will at least be looking to get their maiden win in 2013. They missed out in qualification last time out but were thankfully given automatic entry this time around. Having reached the Pacific Island Cup final in 2009, David Fairleigh's side should not be underestimated in the battle to book a quarter-final against the winners of Group A in Wrexham on November 16. Although they missed out on Brisbane prop Alex Glenn to New Zealand, the squad has a strong back bone of Super League experience. Former Bradford centre Keith Lulia and Wigan's Anthony Gelling will hope Wakefield old boy Isaac John can pull the strings and give them chances to grab tries out wide.

Squad: Tinirau Arona (Sydney Roosters), Sam Brunton (Mounties Bundy), Daniel Fepuleai (North Sydney), Jonathon Ford (ToulouseI), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Isaac John (Penrith), Drury Low (Canterbury Bulldogs), Keith Lulia (Bradford), Lulia Lulia (Shell Harbour), Hikule'o Malu (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Mataora (Canberra), Joseph Matapuku (North Sydney), Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters), Dominique Peyroux (New Zealand Warriors), Rea Pittman (Cronulla), Jordan Rapana (Canberra), Tupou Sopoaga (Cronulla), Zeb Taia (Catalan Dragons), Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast), Adam Tangata (Mounties Bundy), Chris Taripo (Sydney Roosters), Zane Tetavano (Newcastle), Tyrone Viiga (Parramatta)

Head coach: David Fairleigh

Terry Matterson: The new man in charge for the United States

United States
USA! USA! A country better known for rounding bases and hitting baskets, the Americans will make their bow in the event this year. The sport of rugby league has been pushed by ex-pats since the 1950s but the formation of the American National Rugby League in 1997 has helped the game blossom. They missed out on 2008 after losing to Samoa, but this time around qualified at the expense of Jamaica and South Africa. Matthew Elliot then stood down as coach to be replaced by Brian Smith, who then had to step aside himself due to family reasons. New man Terry Matterson will hope he lasts all the way through the tournament. There are 10 American-born players supplemented by those with Australian roots, including familiar faces to Super League fans in Clint Newton and Ryan McGoldrick. Joseph Paulo captains the team and is set to play alongside his brother, Junior.

Squad: Mark Cantoni (Dalby), Andrew Durutalo (USA Eagles), Bureta Faramio (Mackay Cutters), Gabriel Farley (Southampton Dragons), Kristian Freed (Racing Club Lescure), Michael Garvey (Pennsylvania Bulls), Roman Hifo (Papakura Sea Eagles), Daniel Howard (Wentworthville Magpies), Stephen Howard (Tuggerong Bushrangers), Judah Lavulo (Cabramatta), Haveatama Luani (Wests Tigers), David Marando (Belrose Eagles), Ryan McGoldrick (Salford), Clint Newton (Penrith), Mark Offerdahl (Carcassone), Joseph Paulo (Parramatta), Junior Paulo (Windsor Wolves), Matthew Petersen (Cudgen Hornets), Craig Priestly (Southampton Dragons), Tuisegasega Samoa (Redcliffe Dolphins), Matthew Shipway (South Newcastle), Les Soloai (Featherstone), Lelauloto Tagaloa (Hawaii Chiefs), Taylor Welch (Chicago Griffins)

Head coach: Terry Matterson

Wales
Two-time semi-finalists, the Welsh make their World Cup return after failing to qualify for 2008. They did, though, push Australia eight years previously in Huddersfield, and were also part of the 2011 Four Nations after upsetting France in the previous edition of the European Cup. Then they had Lee Briers in their ranks, but the Warrington half-back will sadly not grace the 2013 event. Still, coach Iestyn Harris - fresh off a double-winning season at Wigan - expects his squad to be a "decent prospect" when at full strength. That first-choice line-up should include St George Illawarra forward Tyson Frizell, who was initially ruled out through injury but has now been passed fit to be Wales' only NRL representative. Rugby union convert Andy Powell is sidelined, however. At least they will have Rhys Evans in action alongside twin brother Ben, after the former switched allegiances from England.

Squad: Neil Budworth (unattached), Ross Divorty (Halifax), Gil Dudson (Wigan), Jacob Emmitt (Salford), Ben Evans (Bradford), Rhys Evans (Warrington), Daniel Fleming (Castleford), Ben Flower (Wigan), Tyson Frizzel (St George Illawarra), James Gurtjens (North Devils), Jordan James (Salford), Danny Jones (Keighley), Elliot Kear (Bradford), Craig Kopczak (Huddersfield), Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan), Peter Lupton (Workington), Rob Massam (North Wales), Larne Patrick (Huddersfield), Christiaan Roets (North Wales), Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manly), Anthony Walker (St Helens), Ian Webster (Central Queensland), Lloyd White (Widnes), Rhys Williams (Warrington)

Head coach: Iestyn Harris

Make sure you check out our Rugby League World Cup page throughout the tournament for news, views and reports on all the matches. You can also join us for live interactive blogs on all of England's pool matches, as well as the semi-finals and final

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