There are two major changes for the Kiwis in their do-or-die match against Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, but players and the coach insist they are ready for whatever their Pacific Island rivals can throw at them.

Danny Levi and Te Maire Martin come into the starting 13 for the game at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, and coach David Kidwell said the preparation has been particularly focused since arriving in the capital.

“We’re looking for Te Maire to utilise his speed, spread the ball and direct the team with Shaun [Johnson],” Kidwell said.

“Our preparation has been faultless and we’re looking to tidy up little things that didn’t go well against Tonga – we want to play the footy that we want to play.

“Fiji are an in-form team, their backs are dangerous, they have big forwards and [Jarryd] Hayne likes the big games.”

Kidwell said there was a response from his squad immediately after the Tongan loss to support each other and tighten up discipline on the park. Being both smart and tough is the key to success, he said.

For huge interchange forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona, a homecoming to Wellington has been about achieving a dream of playing at Westpac Stadium.

“I went to Lions and Hurricanes’ games there growing up and to be able to play there for the Kiwis is massive.

“I’ve had a good year in the NRL [with the premiership-winning Melbourne Storm] but this is another big game.”

Asofa-Solomona said studying video of Fiji has been part of the preparation and they know what will be thrown at the Kiwis.

“There are a lot of talented boys in that Fijian team, especially in their outside backs and they are physical up front, and it’s going to be very tough.”

© AAP 2018

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The Crowd Says (14)

  • November 15th 2017 @ 11:42am
    Fred said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

    This will be an amazing game. I think Fiji has gone under the radar with the focus on Tonga, but this is the best Fijian side I’ve seen. Not as strong as Tonga in the forwards, (but still solid), but excellent in the backs.

  • November 15th 2017 @ 1:53pm
    Peter Phelps said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

    They also have the NRL’s top try scorer playing for them. Should be a good match and whilst NZ should win, there is a real chance of an upset.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 2:25pm
      Fred said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

      And they have the player who should be the NSW hooker…

  • November 15th 2017 @ 2:46pm
    Oto shark said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

    Loosing Simms and Evans is not good for the team, but missing Simms will hurt them more. Us talking about Fiji even having a chance show how good the international game is starting to get ,awesome.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 3:21pm
      Fred said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

      Yes they’ve lost two quality forwards, but they still have a very talented squad.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 15th 2017 @ 9:47pm
      Joe said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

      Agree, they were already thin in the forwards and lacking in the halves department so losing those two key forwards will hurt them. Especially with the likes of Asofa-Solomona and Packer coming off the bench for the Kiwis.

  • November 15th 2017 @ 5:36pm
    republican said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

    ….a Cricket score ensues.
    NZ will recover from there lapse to annihilate Fiji……….

    • November 16th 2017 @ 3:13am
      Concerned Observer said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:13am | ! Report

      Glad to see you back Republican. I got a little worried after you were so quiet after the Tonga/NZ match. What were your thoughts on the game?

      Also, didn’t you say something similar to this about that game? Aren’t you worried you’ll jinx it?

    • November 16th 2017 @ 3:18am
      Concerned Observer said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:18am | ! Report

      Personally, I agree that NZ should take this game though I don’t think it’ll be a blow out. 1st half will be be similar to the last game with the first 20 minutes being fast-paced and low scoring and the kiwi’s should gradually gain the ascendancy as thier bench is far too strong and should head in to the sheds at half time with at least a 10 point lead

      If they lapse again in the second half I give Fiji the slimmest of chances. However, if NZ really are contenders they’ll maintain a pretty high standard and win comfortably. I don’t expect Fiji to just capitulate though so it’ll never get too high scoring.

    • November 16th 2017 @ 3:36pm
      Albo said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

      I tend to agree republican.
      The starting of Martin & Levi improves the NZ spine in my opinion, and their pack & bench is stronger. It would be a shock to me if Fiji could upset the kiwis this week.

  • Roar Rookie

    November 15th 2017 @ 9:49pm
    Joe said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

    After last weeks abysmal defensive performance Nikorima was always going to be dropped. Martin at least doesn’t shirk his duties although he may make a wrong decision he is a bigger body and puts it to good use. I see NZ bouncing back big time in this game. Fiji will play well in patches but I expect the Kiwis to be too strong in the end. This game and the Papua New Guinea v England game are the two I’m really looking forward to as there is a small chance of an upset.

  • Roar Guru

    November 15th 2017 @ 9:59pm
    Sleiman Azizi said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

    Anything can happen but I am expecting New Zealand to win this.

    I’m calling it now – New Zealand will play and beat Australia in the semi-final.

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