Australia expect Fiji fightback

Australia coach Tim Sheens is expecting a “really tough game” in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final meeting with Fiji.

The tournament favourites face Fiji, a side which they beat

34-2 in the group stage

but who impressed in matches against England and Samoa, at Wembley.

“In the England game it was 6-6 after 40 minutes and a few things got away from them. I think Fiji have improved since then,” the 63-year-old said.

Mike Ratu Snr

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Rochdale Fijians excited about World Cup

“They’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

The Wembley match will be a special one for Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva. The 37-year-old won a record 45 caps for Australia, but delayed his retirement in order to lead the country of his birth in the 2013 World Cup.

“He’s one of the all-time great props,” Sheens said. “To survive as long as he has with 40-plus Tests is not easy, I can tell you.

“Anyone who has played the game for 10 years or more in the NRL has had a great career, let alone to have played up front for all that time.

“He certainly took it to us in the game at St Helens and I am sure he is pretty fired up to lead the charge here tomorrow. All credit to him for a fantastic career.”

The first meeting between the two teams was played under heavy rain, and Sheens was hoping for a better forecast for the weekend.

“The conditions were pretty ordinary at St Helens, probably the worst of the tournament,” he said. “Dry conditions suit them and I think they suit us as well so it should be a good game if the rain stays away.”

Fiji coach Rick Stone is expected to stick with the team that beat

Samoa 22-4 in last Sunday’s quarter-final,

but Sheens revealed he had “a small injury problem with one player”.

Australia prop Matt Scott was seen having treatment on his back before training on the Wembley pitch on Friday.

comments powered by Disqus