Rugby League World Cup Preview: Fiji

Here we are again, continuing the World Cup previews, this time with Fiji. Boasting some local talent and tremendous NRL players, Fiji are a side that have the potential to upset a few sides.

Peni Botiki (Saru Dragons), Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Petero Civoniceva (Redcliffe Dolphins), Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters), Aaron Groom (Asquith Magpies), Ilisavani Jegesa (Nabua Broncos), Marika Koroibete (Wests Tigers), Apisai Koroisau (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Millard (Catalans Dragons), Ryan Millard (Burwood United), Kevin Naiqama (Newcastle Knights), Waisale Naiqama (Penrith Panthers), Alipate Noilea (Collegians Illawarra), Tikiko Noke (Lautoka Crushers), Vitale Junior (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Ashton Sims (North Queensland Cowboys), Korbin Sims (Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (North Queensland Cowboys), James Storer (Collegians Illawarra), Kaliova Nauqe (Fassifern Queensland), Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights), Eloni Tui Michael Vunakece (Wyong Roos), Sisa Ledua (Melbourne Storm), Semi Radradra Turagasoli Waqavatu (Parramatta Eels)

Head coach: Rick Stone

With blistering speed and raw power in the backs with Sisa Waqa, Marika Koroibete and Akuila Uate, brotherly love with Ashton, Tariq and Korbin Sims all playing as well as a mix of other experienced NRL players and local players, a chance is ripe for Fiji to strike and strike hard.

Whilst not a complete side in terms of personnel and perhaps lacking the killer blow or veteran player in the halves, they are not a side to be taken lightly and will look to go deep into the World Cup finals.

With potential to do so and a well liked and revered coach at the helm in Newcastle Knights assistant Rick Stone, the world is their oyster, as they look to come together as a unit and perform to the ability they are capable of.

Perhaps one key for Fiji in the World Cup, will be the leadership and experience of former NRL veteran Petero Civoniceva. Loved and revered by many of the Fijian faithful, his experience will prove invaluable for the Island nation, as he too will be looking to impress and perform well.

Overall, boasting a class of experienced players may come in handy for Fiji, though with their halves the most notable weak spot, it might come down to whether the forwards can lay the platform consistently.

Here’s the side I’d go with for Fiji:

1. Kevin Naiqama
2. Marika Koroibete
3. Daryl Millard
4. Sisa Waqa
5. Akuila Uate
6. Wes Naiqama
7. Ryan Millard
8. Petero Civoniceva (C)
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. Ashton Sims
11. Jayson Bukuya
12. Tariq Sims
13. Peni Botiki

14. Kane Evans
15. Korbin Sims
16. Semi Radradra
17. Tikiko Noke

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