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Fiji Bati are on a giant-killing mission for glory

Staff Reporter 10/26/2017 | |
The Fiji Bati are on a World Cup giant-killing mission with Broncos prop Korbin Sims declaring Fiji fears no one but God.

Fiji has bunkered down in Brisbane ahead of Saturday’s opening match against the USA in Townsville.

The Bati are the silent assassins of the World Cup, assembling a quality squad with strike power across the park.

They have two-time Dally M Medal winner Jarryd Hayne at five-eighth and will be captained by Tigers weapon Kevin Naiqama.

The Sims brothers — Korbin and Ashton — will lead their engine room along with towering Parramatta recruit Kane Evans.

The NRL’s top tryscorer in 2017 — Storm flyer Suliasi Vunivalu — will be on one wing with reborn former Kangaroos ace Akuila Uate on the other.

The Bati made it to the 2013 World Cup semi-finals, where they were embarrassed 64-0 by Australia, and Korbin Sims said the deeply religious squad had set high expectations.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the World Cup and we don’t want to do anything less than win the World Cup,” he said.

“We’re pretty confident with the time we’ve had together and players we’ve pulled together to make this side. There is a lot of talent, strike power, skill and aggression.

“There is lots of passion and pride in this side. We’ve got a lot of faith in not only our ability but also God as well.

“This is a very God-fearing side. Everyone is very religious. Everyone gets into devotion. What we do in and around each other is always uplifting.

“There are a lot of devout people in this side that go to church every chance they get. If they miss a service they go to the next service.

“I love coming into this environment and getting back in touch with God.”

Sims, 25, will make his return from a broken arm which ended his 2017 NRL campaign with the Broncos before the finals. The five-Test Bati representative said he was confident of returning at full fitness.

“It’s all right. It’s getting there,” he said. “We’ve had a few (contact) sessions and it’s getting to a point where it’s a lot stronger.

“I’m pretty confident the body’s going to hold up for the World Cup. The doctors are pretty confident it’ll be ready to go.”

The Bati, in Pool D, must beat the USA, Wales and Italy to guarantee a berth in the quarter-finals. Former Maroons and Kangaroos prop Petero Civoniceva has been training with the squad and Ashton Sims said the Bati’s preparations were on track.

“Every team should be wanting to win the World Cup,” he said. “That’s the ultimate. That’s why we’re here. It’s no good just trying to compete. We want to win.

“We’ve been close. We’ve made the semis the last two World Cups (2008, 2013) I’ve been involved in. It would be nice to take the next step. That is the big goal at the end of the rainbow.”.

Fiji v USA

Fiji
1 Kevin Naiqama (c)
2 Suliasi Vunivalu
3 Taane Milne
4 Akuila Uate
5 Marcelo Montoya
6 Jarryd Hayne
7 Henry Raiwalui
8 Ashton Sims
9 Apisai Koroisau
10 Kane Evans
11 Viliame Kikau
12 Korbin Sims
13 Tui Kamikamica
14 Joe Lovodua
15 Jacob Saifiti
16 Eloni Vunakece
17 Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai

18 Brayden Wiliame
19 James Storer
20 Junior Roqica
21 Pio Seci

USA
1 Corey Makelim
2 Ryan Burroughs
3 Junior Vaivai
4 Jonathan Alley
5 Wing Bureta Faraimo
6 Kristian Freed
7 Matthew Walsh
8 1 Eddy Pettybourne
9 David Marando
10 Mark Offerdahl (c)
11 Danny Howard
12 Matt Shipway
13 Nicholas Newlin
14 Sam Tochterman-Talbott
15 Andrew Kneisly
16 Steve Howard
17 Gabriel Farley

18 Charles Joseph Cortalano
19 Joe Eichner
20 David Ulch
21 Joshua Rice

SOURCE: THE COURIER MAIL/PACNEWS

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