Petero Plays Australia For The First Time

Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/Alex Whitehead/swpix.com
Petero Civoniceva will lead Fiji against Australia. Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/Alex Whitehead/swpix.com
Australia got a minor scare in its first game of the Rugby League World Cup but after overcoming England 28-20 in the opener, the Kangaroos should have a much easier time of it against physical and talented Fijian side. The Bati ran roughshod over Ireland in its first appearance of the tournament, but beating the men from the Emerald Isle is a completely different kettle of fish to taking on a superstar-laden Kangaroo outfit.

Fiji led that match 24-4 at half-time and only a couple of late Ireland tries added respectability to the scoreline. Power-packed Knights winger Aquila Uate crossed for a hat-trick in that match while the Sims brothers provided plenty of punch in the forwards. If anything, the Pacific islanders showed a little too much passion against the Irish with the physical nature of their football, with coach Rick Stone calling for his side to tone down its aggression post-match.

Australia fullback Billy Slater will rest after scoring a brilliant solo try against England, but there’s no respite for Fiji with Dally M Fullback of the Year Greg Inglis slotting back in to the custodian role where he starred for Souths this season. Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans gets his shot in the starting line-up coming in to halfback in place of Cooper Cronk.

It could be the final time Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva comes up against a number of his NRL friends and foes. In saying that, the Bati should progress to the quarter-finals, most likely as the third placegetter in Group A, and a win in the final eight stage puts them on a collision course with the Kangaroos in the semi-finals. That happened in the 2008 World Cup when Australia scored a 52-0 win at the Sydney Football Stadium. The previous meeting between the teams prior to that ended in a 66-8 victory to the green and gold while in 1995 the Kangaroos blanked Fiji 66-0.

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