20 Oct 2022
What are the teams for Fiji v Italy men at the Rugby League World Cup?
Italy return to Kingston Park after beating Scotland to face Fiji who lost to Australia first up
By Paul Martin
Fiji have made two changes to their 19-man squad as they prepare to take on Italy at Kingston Park on Saturday.
Vuate Karawalevu and Korbin Sims replace Jowasa Drodrolagi and Isaac Lumelume for the crunch Group B clash in Newcastle, with the Bati looking to bounce back following last weekend’s 42-8 defeat against Australia.
They will face stern opposition from an Italy side full of confidence after an accomplished showing against Scotland yielded a 28-4 win last Sunday.
Coach Leo Epifania makes one change in his 19-man squad with prop Alec Susino coming in for Gioele Celerino, who broke Italy’s appearance record against the Bravehearts.
Fiji: 13 Tui Kamikamica, 24 Vuate Karawalevu, 12 Viliame Kikau, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 16 Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, 18 Netane Masima, 6 Sitiveni Moceidreke, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 10 Ben Nakubuwai, 11 Taniela Sadrugu, 3 Korbin Sims, 2 Maika Sivo, 14 Penioni Tagituimua, 1 Sunia Turuva, 19 Semi Valemei, 5 Mitieli Vulikijapani, 17 King Vuniyayawa, 7 Brandon Wakeham, 22 Josh Wong
Italy: 1 Luke Polselli, 2 Richard Lepori, 3 Daniel Atkinson, 4 Ethan Natoli, 5 Jake Maizen, 6 Jack Campagnolo, 7 Radean Robinson, 8 Alec Susino, 9 Dean Parata, 10 Anton Iaria, 11 Ryan King, 12 Brenden Santi, 13 Nathan Brown (captain), 14 Joey Tramontana, 15 Luca Moretti, 17 Ronnie Palumbo, 18 Kyle Pickering, 19 Luke Hodge, 20 Jack Colovatti
Fiji and Italy have met just once before, at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Suliasi Vunivalu’s hat-trick helped Fiji to a 38-10 win in Canberra, with Kevin Naiqama, Henry Raiwalui, Brayden Wiliame and Marcelo Montoya also crossing as Fiji cemented their place at the top of Group D.
Josh Mantellato and Nathan Milone responded for Italy, who missed out on the knockout phase.
Italy’s performance in their victory over Scotland caught the eye of Hollywood royalty.
Russell Crowe, co-owner the South Sydney Rabbitohs, drew attention to the display of Jack Campagnolo – who represents the NRL outfit – to his 2.9 million Twitter followers.
How many people in Italy know that your Rugby League team just had an historic victory over Scotland at the Rugby League World Cup being played in England right now ?
Scotland 4 https://t.co/z0Mn9WW1FD
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) October 17, 2022
Fiji have lost their last two men’s internationals, defeated by Australia in the opening round of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup (8-42) and Papua New Guinea in a June 2022 international (14-24).
The last time they lost more successive games was a four-game stretch between November 2008 and October 2009.
Italy have won two of their last three games at the men’s Rugby League World Cup including the 28-4 win over Scotland in the opening round of the 2021 tournament.
They will now be looking to win back-to-back games at the tournament for the first time ever.
Players to watch
- Sunia Turuva has now scored three tries in his two international appearances for Fiji, including one of the team’s two tries against Australia.
- No player scored more tries (3) or made more line breaks (3) in Round 1 of the 2021 men’s Rugby League World Cup than Italy’s Jake Maizen, who also ran for 241 metres – the fourth most of any player. He has also drawn level with James Tedesco (now captaining Australia) and Josh Mantellato at the top of Italy’s all-time World Cup try scoring charts.
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