New Zealand vs Fiji: Rugby League World Cup quarter-final live scores, blog

193 Have your say

    LIVE SCORES

    Scores updated regularly. REFRESH NOW

    New Zealand vs Fiji

    2017 Rugby League World Cup

    Wellington Regional Stadium
    New Zealand Fiji
    2 SCORE 4
    0 Tries 0
    0 Conversions 0
    1 Penalty goals 2
    0 Field goals 0

    Match result:

    Fiji have upset New Zealand and booked a place in a semi-final versus Australia in game where the only scores made were three penalty goals.

    » Click here to read the full match report

    Final score
    New Zealand 2
    Fiji 4

    Match preview:

    New Zealand will come up against Fiji on Saturday afternoon at Wellington Regional Stadium in the quater-finals of the Rugby League World Cup. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5:30pm AEDT.

    This probably isn’t the matchup that Kiwi fans were expecting to see their team playing at this stage of the tournament. Before they get too far ahead of themselves and worry about a semi-final with Australia, their team are going to need to sharpen up in a few areas and see off the unbeaten Fijians.

    For the New Zealanders the tournament has been going almost according to plan. The one hiccup was the loss to Tonga in their last pool game that saw them finish runner-up and on the wrong side of the draw.

    Time will tell whether this was just a blip on the radar or the beginning of the end for one of the biggest names in the game.

    The Kiwis will be looking to show that it was a valuable wakeup call with a clinical and crushing display in this clash.

    Winning is obviously essential otherwise it’s home time, but they will want to win well to quieten any talk of bigger issues and take confidence into a top-tier semi-final with the Kangaroos.

    There are a couple of changes to the Kiwi starting line up with Te Maire Martin joining Johnson in the halves and Levi starting at hooker.

    Levi’s proven himself to be a hardworking and hard fighting player over the past couple of seasons with the Knights and his grit is going to be important as the Kiwis look to establish control over the game in the first half.

    They will look to their forwards in general for this control – the Kiwi pack and bench is much stronger than their Fijian opponents and the men in black are going to need all of their big names – Taupau, Waerea-Hargreaves, Mannering, Packer and Blair – to set the tone.

    They need solid sets of six from the outset and their big men punching holes, giving their backs quick ball to put the Fijians on the back foot.

    If the Fijians, however, are given a chance to unleash their backs with any sort of time and space then we should see more of the same fireworks that saw them rack up a point difference in the group stages of 140.

    Hayne at 6 is going to have to have a good game and if he and Raiwalui can put any of their outside backs in space then it should be a cracking afternoon.

    New Zealand are a far stronger proposition than anything Fiji have faced so far and so the away side are going to need players like Naiqama, Vunivalu and Uate to come looking for the ball and be busy in attack and organised in defence.

    Speaking of defence, the Kiwis will be better organised and more restrictive than anything the Fijians have faced before in this tournament but with the type of talent and form the Fijians are showing, it would be brave soul to bet against them being a scoring threat.

    Beyond this specific game, the tournament as a whole is drawing varying degrees of attention and media. There’s plenty of stories coming out of Australia that suggest that the World Cup isn’t being regarded as big a deal as you might hope. From a logistics point of view the plan to have more games in Canberra than in Sydney and Newcastle combined seems strange. Spreading the game is of course a great idea, but if you want your congregation to grow you’ve got to get your faithful choir to sing loudly.

    From a structure point of view there’s been plenty of debate and demands for change. Samoa’s presence in the quarter-finals, for example, has confused many. Not a single game won and a points difference of minus 44 yet they qualify out of their group.

    Equally Lebanon won just one game, have a points difference of minus 42 and will fight for a place in the semis. Meanwhile Ireland won two of their three games, had a positive points difference of over 40 and are checking out the in-flight movies on the long haul flight back north.

    But those are topics for another day. In this game we have what should be an absolute belter. Two teams with huge attacking potential and a huge desire to make a statement to the rest of the rugby league world.

    Prediction
    There’s no historical form of any sort between these two teams but it’s hard to see New Zealand tripping up again against this local rival. They should have too much power and go forward for the Fijians and will look to unleash Johnson’s magic off that solid platform.

    New Zealand to win by 16

    Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting at 5:30pm AEDT on Saturday afternoon.