The Roar
The Roar


How Fiji could win the next Rugby League World Cup

Put Hayne in a Fiji jersey again and there's every chance the Bati could dominate the next RLWC. (Photo: Martin Seras Lima)
Roar Guru
6th October, 2016
2523 Reads

New rules allowing players to choose to represent second-tier nations has improved the quality of teams heading towards the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, meaning the Fiji team could challenge the top teams.

If the following team was selected for the second-tier nation, with Fiji using all their possible players, imagine how great the international game could be?

1. Jarryd Hayne
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Waqa Blake
4. Kevin Naiqama
5. Semi Radradra
6. John Sutton
7. Maurice Kennedy
8. Kane Evans
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. Ashton Sims
11. Jacob Saifiti
12. Tariq Sims
13. Jayson Bukuya
14. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
15. Korbin Sims
16. Daniel Saifiti
17. Eloni Vunakece

This is a very strong team, one which sees Akulia Uate miss out, while Marika Koroibete would be there if he didn’t change to rugby.

The line-up features strike centres in Blake (who is difficult to tackle one-on-one) and Naiqama, and two powerhouse wingers, with Vunivalu the NRL’s top try-scorer this year and Semi topping last year’s list.

The underrated Koroisau is a very elusive and creative dummy half. You have a premiership-winning captain to guide the team around the park in John Sutton.

This forward pack wouldn’t be bullied by any other nation, with lots of size and youth to give good go forward.

The main strength is Jarryd Hayne, who is the NRL’s highest-paid player and probably its most talented. At his best he could lead Fiji to World Cup victory, although he was rocks and diamonds in his return this year.

The major flaw is at halfback, where the only player without NRL experience, Maurice Kennedy, is named. Kennedy could really kill the nation’s hopes – it’s a lot to be asked of an NSW Cup player – so Hayne and Sutton need to step up in kicking and organising.