Roos In No Mood To Be Semi Trailers

Image courtesy of Evans/Daily Telegraph
Greg Inglis will start at fullback for Australia. Image courtesy of Evans/The Daily Telegraph
Australia has barely had anything more than a tune up so far in the Rugby League World Cup, and the Kangaroos’ charmed run continues in the semi-finals when they take on a physical and willing Fiji side, which will be hoping to send skipper Petero Civoniceva out in good fashion.

Billy Slater suffered a knee injury in the 62-0 thumping over the United States in last week’s quarter-final and he will be lucky to be fit for Australia’s expected appearance in the final next week. Greg Inglis was a standout in the No. 1 jersey for Souths this season and the green and gold certainly don’t lose anything with him in the custodian role.

The biggest selection surprise was Tim Sheens opting to bring Brent Tate back in to the side at left centre on the opposite side to where he has spent the majority of his career. Fellow tourists Josh Morris and Michael Jennings are both specialist left-sided players, but Sheens decided Tate’s combination with his Queensland State of Origin teammates was the overriding factor.

Rick Stone’s Fiji team probably won its grand final last week in beating fellow Pacific island nation Samoa 22-4 in their final eight match-up. The Bati were certainly not disgraced in losing 34-12 to England in the group stage and held the host nation to a 6-all scoreline at the break. With Civoniceva and the Sims brothers – Ashton and Tariq – they have size in the pack, and there is plenty of strike power out wide with the likes of Akuila Uate and Marika Koroibete , along with Wes and Kevin Naiqama .

These teams have met four times previously. Australia won their World Cup semi-final clash in 2008 52-0, and in those four games Fiji has mustered the grand total of just 10 points.

In the other semi, New Zealand has some minor injury concerns; Sonny-Bill Williams is expected to be fit despite suffering a neck injury in the 40-4 quarter-final win over Scotland, but winger Manu Vatuvei is doubtful due to a groin problem. England was ordinary at times in its 34-6 victory over a second-rate France side and will need to improve significantly to trouble the reigning titleholder.

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