2017 Rugby League World Cup - Australia vs Fiji Preview

22nd Nov 2017 by TSZ

The Lowdown

AUSTRALIA

  • Australia ominously defeated Samoa 46-0 as their charge towards a second successive World Cup took another step closer with their 10th consecutive World Cup victory.  
  • Valentine Holmes created World Cup history as he became the first man to score five tries in a single game. His try-scoring exploits helped Australia to win a World Cup game by a minimum of 32 points, something that they have now done in eight of their last nine matches.      
  • Mal Meninga has named the same 17 that comfortably dispatched Samoa in their quarter-final. Should Australia win this, it's unlikely that they will make any changes to their side other than to account for injuries.    

Head Coach: Mal Meninga

Team: Slater; Gagai, Chambers, Dugan, Holmes; Morgan, Cronk; Woods, Smith, Klemmer, Cordner, Gillett, McGuire

Bench: Graham, McLean, Campbell-Gillard, Frizell

FIJI

  • Fiji produced one of the biggest shocks in international rugby league history as they played out a try-less game against New Zealand, defeating the Kiwis by 4 points to 2 to qualify for the World Cup semi-final.              
  • That result was Fiji's fourth consecutive World Cup victory, with all four of those coming in this tournament. Their last World Cup defeat came against their opponents in this game, Australia, who beat them 64-0 at the same stage in the last World Cup in 2013.     
  • Head Coach Mick Potter has unsurprisingly named an unchanged side following last week's heroics with the same 17 once again getting the chance to create even more history.       

Head Coach: Mick Potter

Team: Naiqama; Vunivalu, Milne, Uate, Montoya; Hayne, Raiwalui; A. Sims, Koroisau, Vunakece, Kikau, Wiliame, Kamikamica

Bench: Lovodua, Saifiti, Roqica, Nakubuwai

Analysis - what to expect                     
Australia will have expected to take on New Zealand in the opening semi-final this weekend but Fiji produced a wonderful display to shock the Kiwis and earned the right to take on the world champions. Despite not scoring a try in their quarter-final, Fiji remain the tournament's highest scorers having scored 172 points (an average of 43 points per game), but having just scraped by against New Zealand, their attacking play will have to improve if they're to have any chance of reaching the final. Australia's defence kept another side scoreless in their quarter-final against Samoa, their fifth World Cup without conceding a point from their last nine matches. They will be tested by a spirited Fiji side full of confidence but will ultimately have too much and should run out fairly comfortable winners.

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