The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Wales v New Zealand
To kick off week 2 of the Gillette Four Nations series, the Kiwis face a Welsh team coming off a 40 point hiding by the English. This could get ugly. The Kiwis will bring Adam Blair back from suspension and after a few other positional changes, must be licking their chops at the thought of this game. This match is also part 1 of a Wembley Stadium double header and that kind of atmosphere will bring the best out of both teams.
This means almost certain disaster for the Welsh. They will simply not know how to stop Benji Marshall, they may not be able to lay a finger on Kevin Locke and when Fui Fui Moi Moi comes on from the interchange bench, and you could have an instant YouTube clip on your hands. Tune in for the fun and frivolity of international Rugby League and watch the Kiwis turn this one into a game of touch footy.
Tip: New Zealand 50-6
England v Australia
For those of you old enough to remember the traditional Kangaroo Tours which occurred every 4 years until the dark ages of Super League, you'll remember what it means to play a test match at Wembley Stadium. You'll remember a bunch of angry footballers from Australia and the working class legends of Northern England being introduced to the Queen and then spending the next 80 minutes knocking the stuffing out of each other.
Glory days. Fingers crossed for a return to those days and part 2 of your Wembley double header could be just the tonic for the Lions to raise their level of intensity and once again compete with the Australians on the international stage. The likes of Sinfield, Graham and Ellis, joining forces with Heighington and Reed should ensure England match up well for the most part. Eventually though, they will give the Australians a sniff and it will be curtains once again. The opening exchanges a highlight.
Tip: Australia 22-12