Taylor and Lewis to defend Betfair World Cup of Darts title as nations confirmed

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Lawrence Lustig - PDC

England’s Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis will defend their Betfair World Cup of Darts title when the 24-nation event is held in Hamburg next month, with Michael van Gerwen making his debut for the Netherlands and brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts set to represent Belgium.

Taylor and Lewis defeated Australian pair Simon Whitlock & Paul Nicholson 12 months ago to take the title at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg, claiming victory in a sudden-death leg to end a thrilling final.

The pair’s status as the number one and two in the PDC Order of Merit means that they will again be partners for this year’s £150,000 tournament, which will be held from February 1-3 and screened live on Sky Sports HD.

Raymond van Barneveld, who led the Netherlands to victory in the inaugural World Cup of Darts alongside Co Stompe in 2010, has a third different partner in the tournament, with World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen ousting Vincent van der Voort from the Dutch team following his rise to fourth in the world.

UK Open champion Robert Thornton’s return to the world’s top 16 has seen him win back a spot in the Scotland team alongside Gary Anderson, while Andree Welge comes into the Germany side alongside Jyhan Artut and Connie Finnan makes his World Cup debut alongside William O’Connor for Ireland.

Brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts will create history when they represent Belgium as the first siblings to compete in the World Cup of Darts.

The 24-nation event will begin with a Group Stage, which will see the teams drawn into eight three-team groups, as each nation faces each other once over the best of seven legs.

The Group Stage will be split across two sessions on Friday February 1 and Saturday’s afternoon session, before the top two teams from each group progress to the knockout Last 16 on Saturday evening.

Sunday afternoon will see the Quarter-Finals take place, before the Semi-Finals and Final are held on Sunday evening.

The draw for the Group Stage will be made during Qualifying School this weekend, with each of the Seeded Nations being drawn with one team from Pool B and one team from Pool C, with nations ranked in order of the cumulative ranking of both players from the PDC Order of Merit.

Betfair World Cup of Darts Seeded Nations 1. England (Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis) 2. Netherlands (Michael van Gerwen & Raymond van Barneveld) 3. Australia (Simon Whitlock & Paul Nicholson) 4. Scotland (Gary Anderson & Robert Thornton) 5. Wales (Mark Webster & Richie Burnett) 6. Northern Ireland (Brendan Dolan & Michael Mansell) 7. Germany (Jyhan Artut & Andree Welge) 8. Republic of Ireland (William O’Connor & Connie Finnan)

Pool B Spain (Antonio Alcinas & Carlos Rodriguez) Belgium (Kim Huybrechts & Ronny Huybrechts) Canada (John Part & Jeff Smith) Finland (Jani Haavisto & Jarkko Komula) Austria (Mensur Suljovic & Maik Langendorf) Croatia (Robert Marijanovic & Tonci Restovic) Gibraltar (Dyson Parody & Dylan Duo) Denmark (Per Laursen & Jann Hoffmann)

Pool C Sweden (Magnus Caris & Par Riihonen) Philippines (Lourence Ilagan & Christian Perez) Japan (Haruki Muramatsu & Sho Katsumi) USA (Darin Young & Larry Butler) South Africa (Charl Pietersen & Shawn Hogan) New Zealand (Phil Hazel & Craig Caldwell) Hungary (Nandor Bezzeg & Meszaros Zsolt) Poland (Krzysztof Kciuk & Krzysztof Ratajski)

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