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England look set to fall short of handicap mark once more

| 08.11.2013

England failed to beat the handicap against whipping boys Ireland in their second group match and it may pay to side with the underdog again in the same market.

England’s 42-0 victory over the Irish was not enough to cover the deficit they were given by the bookmakers and with Fiji comfortably winning with their head-start against tournament favourites Australia, the 28 points that the South Pacific side have been given before kick-off should be enough for investors to collect at 10/11.

South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess is available for selection again after serving a one match ban for a high tackle against Australia in the opening game, whilst coach Steve McNamara also has Wigan duo Lee Mossop and Michael McIlorum at his disposal.

The fact that the game is essentially a dead rubber, courtesy of three teams progressing from the group stages, could play into handicap backers’ hands despite the ex-Bradford Bulls man’s predictable comments about the hosts wanting to make a statement in the competition as they enter the knockout phases.

Whilst Fiji laboured past Ireland 32-14 in their World Cup opener, the Bati still showed enough attacking quality to suggest they could improve on their two-point tally against Australia.

Key to the Fijian’s chances will be the performances of the three Sims brothers who give the forward line as much menace as any in the competition.

The trio have played in both matches so far and will make it difficult for England’s creative players to find the space they will need to rack up enough points to thwart the selection.

England are certainties to win the match but match odds of 1/50 can only appeal to a select few, so the 10/11 that the Fijians, who are packed with NRL experience, can keep the winning margin under 28 points looks the sensible option.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster