13 Oct 2022
What are the teams for Australia v Fiji men at the Rugby League World Cup?
All the line-ups ahead of the Group B clash at Headingley
By James Toney
Australia coach Mal Meninga has named seven Kangaroos debutants in the side that will open their Rugby League World Cup title defence against Fiji in Leeds.
Murray Taulagi, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Angus Crichton and Jeremiah Nanai will all start while Harry Grant, Reuben Cotter and Pat Carrigan are named on the bench. Penrith's NRL grand final heroes Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin have all been given extra time to recover.
Fiji’s coaching team have given no such luxury to their players with victorious Panthers duo Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau been named alongside Parramatta’s Maika Sivo. Sunia Turuva, one of the brightest young talents in the game, will wear the number one jersey.
Australia: 1 James Tedesco (c), 9 Josh Addo-Carr, 8 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Valentine Holmes, 23 Murray Taulagi, 7 Cameron Munster, 2 Daly Cherry-Evans, 18 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, 3 Ben Hunt, 5 Jake Trbojevic, 17 Angus Crichton, 22 Jeremiah Nanai, 11 Cameron Murray; Interchange: 20 Harry Grant, 16 Reuben Cotter, 13 Pat Carrigan, 10 Jack Wighton + 12 Matt Burton, 19 Campbell Graham
Fiji: 23 Jowasa Drodrolagi, 13 Tui Kamikamica, 12 Viliame Kikau, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 21 Isaac Lumelume, 16 Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, 18 Netane Masima, 6 Sitiveni Moceidreke, 4 Kevin Naiqama (c), 10 Ben Nakubuwai, 11 Taniela Sadrugu, 2 Maika Sivo, 14 Penioni Tagituimua, 1 Sunia Turuva, 19 Semi Valemei, 5 Mitieli Vulikijapani, 17 King Vuniyayawa, 7 Brandon Wakeham, 22 Josh Wong
Australia have won their last 12 men’s Rugby League World Cup matches and victories in their opening two fixtures of this year’s tournament would see them equal the longest winning run by any men’s team in the competition’s history, set by the Kangaroos between 1995 and 2008.
Australia have played six matches against Fiji and have never lost. Their biggest win was a 66-0 success in their first-ever clash at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup in Huddersfield. Their most recent match was a 54-6 victory in Brisbane at the final four stage of the last World Cup.
Eleven-time winners Australia are ranked fourth in the world, though haven't played an international match in 1,078 days - a defeat to Tonga in Auckland.
Australia’s Valentine Holmes was the top try scorer at the men’s Rugby League World Cup in 2017, crossing for 12 tries in total; Holmes needs just four tries to draw level with Billy Slater (16) as the top try scorer in the tournament’s history.
Fiji made their Rugby League World Cup debut in 1995 and have reached the semi-final stage at the last three editions.
They are ranked sixth in the world and lost their last international game, a 50-0 defeat to hosts England in a warm-up match in Salford, a third straight international defeat.
Players to watch
- Australia's Daly Cherry-Evans made 24 kicks forcing a goal line drop out in the 2022 NRL campaign, more than any other player in the competition.
- Fiji's Taniela Sadrugu made 45 offloads for the Townsville Blackhawks in the 2022 Hostplus Cup season, the second-most of any player across the whole competition.
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets