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Eels props to collide in World Cup Final

Over three seasons, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo have formed one of the NRL’s most fearsome prop pairings at Parramatta.

But this weekend, friends will turn foes as the Eels enforcers come face-to-face in the Rugby League World Cup Final at Old Trafford.

With Australia meeting Samoa in the tournament decider, it will mark the first time Campbell-Gillard and Paulo have opposed one another since joining forces at the Eels in 2020.

Both have been named in their respective nation’s 19-man squad for the Final, and are each expected to play a big role after starting in last week’s Semi Final victories.

Australia and Samoa last faced each other in the Quarter Finals of the 2017 World Cup, when the Kangaroos cruised to a 46-0 triumph in a match featuring both Campbell-Gillard and Paulo. At the time, Australia was rugby league’s undisputed #1 nation, but a lot has changed since then.

Samoa has since surged into powerhouse status, headlined by NRL superstars and captained by Paulo.

Sunday will mark Toa Samoa's first appearance in a World Cup Final, on the back of a thrilling, golden point win over hosts England in the Semi Finals. The seesawing affair was decided in the 83rd minute by a Stephen Crichton field goal.

Paulo was as influential as ever in the 27-26 victory, as he contributed 136 run metres and 34 tackles in a proper captain’s knock.

The Eels co-captain, who this week was named in the Team of the Tournament, will have to back up his efforts against a powerful Kangaroos forward pack featuring Campbell-Gillard.

‘RCG’ was right in the thick of it as the Kangaroos and Kiwis played out a Semi Final slog over the weekend. The prop made 21 tackles in a gruelling battle through the middle third.

Campbell-Gillard is chasing World Cup glory for the second time of his career, having played off the bench in Australia's 6-0 win over England in the 2017 Final.

He and Valentine Holmes are the only remaining members of that triumphant side, meaning the Kangaroos will be leaning heavily on his experience this weekend.

With two passionate Parramatta props going to battle, there are sure to be fireworks at Old Trafford.

The Rugby League World Cup Final is played on Sunday, 20 November at 3:00am (AEDT). Australian viewers can tune in on Fox League and Kayo Sports.

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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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