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World Cup Players to Watch - Pool A

October 17th 2008 02:32
Category: World Cup News
With the 2008 World Cup only about a week away, here are some players to keep your eyes on when the action kicks-off on October 25.

Darren Lockyer (Australia)
Position: Five-eighth, Club: Brisbane Broncos
Born: Brisbane, Australia, Height: 178cm, Weight: 84kg

The Australian captain’s 2008 season was interrupted by injury but he’ll be determined to put the frustration behind him with a strong World Cup performance. Lockyer has achieved everything in rugby league, winning four premierships with the Broncos and captaining Queensland to series wins.

In terms of international records, Lockyer has notched 37 games for Australia (20 as captain), is the second highest tryscorer for the Kangaroos and has won the Golden Boot award on two occaisions (2003 and 2006). Quite the record. The only thing not on the list is leading his country to World Cup glory – odds are it’ll be there in a few weeks time. I have a feeling Australia may lose a Pool match but I can still see them winning the title.

Isaac Luke (New Zealand)
Position: Hooker, Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs
Born: Hawera, NZ, Height: 174cm, Weight: 80kg

The young Kiwi dummy half has only played 22 first grade games for the South Sydney Rabbitohs but shapes as a key component of New Zealand’s campaign. Luke is exceptionally dangerous up the centre of the field and if he can get his forwards rolling NZ can trouble any team. However, he has been named on the bench behind Nathan Fien in the Kiwi’s trial against Tonga. A selection error on the part of coach Stephen Kearney in my opinion – Luke should be starting.

Danny McGuire (England)
Position: Five-eighth/Halfback, Club: Leeds Rhinos
Born: Leeds, England, Height: 178cm, Weight: 84kg

McGuire is regarded as one of the best players in the English Super League but the speedy five-eighth has yet to really impress at international level. Could the 2008 World Cup be his time to shine? England will need McGuire to be near his peak if they’re going to challenge for the title but he’ll face stiff competition from Leeds team mate Rob Burrow for a spot in the halves. Check out Danny McGuire in action.

Neville Costigan (Papua New Guinea)
Position: Backrow, Club: St. George Illawarra Dragons
Born: Rabaul, PNG, Height: 181cm, Weight: 100kg

The hard hitting second rower typifies the physical nature of the Kumuls. Costigan is one of three NRL players in the PNG side (the other two being Keith Peters and Paul Aiton) and his team will need all his experience when they come up against Australia, England and New Zealand in Pool A. But, despite being rank outsiders, the PNG side will have plenty of support back home – rugby league is the country’s national sport, with 50% of the population under 20 playing the game.


Tune in on Sunday for the Players to Watch from France, Fiji, Scotland, Tonga, Ireland and Samoa.


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