- Team Name: The Bati
- First Appearance: 1995
- RLWC2013 Group: Group A
- RLWC2013 Opponents: Australia, England and Ireland.
- Tournament best: Semi-Final (2008)
Ones to Watch: Petero Civoniceva, Ryan Millard and Wes Naiqama.
Read more about these great players and why they are ones to watch during RLWC2013.
Civoniceva’s decision to represent the nation of his birth at Rugby League World 2013 is a massive boost to Fiji’s hopes of qualification from Group A.
The former Brisbane Broncos prop forward retired from NRL Rugby League at the end of 2012, but continues to play at a high level with Redcliffe Dolphins, and the experience he’ll bring to his side at RLWC2013 is immeasurable.
Civoniceva played for 15 years at the top level in Australia and made more than 40 appearances for the Kangaroos.
His power in the collision and quick reactions in defence will take Fiji’s forward play to the next level.
Developing young half-back Ryan Millard will look to grasp an opportunity to impress at Rugby League World Cup 2013 following four season outside the first grade in Australia.
A former St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs player, Millard’s slight figure allows him to weave and pivot around defenders.
Millard’s potential has not yet been realised, but the opportunity to demonstrate his talents against top
Veteran utility man Naiqama received a rejuvenating lift ahead of the 2013 season with the move from Newcastle Knights to Penrith Panthers.
An impressive performer for Fiji at Rugby League World Cup 2008, Naiqama will share the on-field leadership role with fellow NRL stalwart Petero Civoniceva, and his ability to fill a number of positions within the team will give head coach Joe Dakuitoga a wealth of match-day options.
Naiqama’s combative style and work-rate will add an extra dimension to Fiji’s play at RLWC2013, while his experience will be key in the match against Australia and England.
A Bit of History
332 islands. One nation.
And a domestic game that goes from strength to strength.
The Fijians took tentative steps into the world of international Rugby League back in 1992 when they played their first international against Western Samoa, a game they lost 32-18. Later that year they bounced back to recorded their biggest ever win: a 54-6 victory over the Cook Islands.
The ‘Bati’ as they are known, made their first World Cup appearance in 1995. After defeating fellow group members South Africa, Fiji suffered heavy defeats at the hands of eventual finalists Australia and England.
In 2000, Fiji were again placed in the same group as Australia and England and again suffered the same fate.
2008 was very different. Eye-catching performances against France and Ireland caught the imagination of the Australian public and carried Fiji into the semi-finals, before the Australians themselves put an end to the dream.
Few will back against a repeat performance from Fiji in 2013.
Rugby League is in the midst of a period of sustained growth within Fiji, where the domestic competition consists of 12 sides across the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
Fiji has produced some fantastic Rugby League players, among them flying winger Noa Nadruku of Canberra Raiders – the leading try scorer in the ARL in 1993 and 1996.
Several members of the World Cup squad will have NRL and Super League experience.