27 Sep 2016

Sport: Apia test a chance for Fiji Bati to test World Cup hopefuls

1:14 pm on 27 September 2016

Fiji plan to use next month's historic rugby league test against Samoa in Apia as a chance for fledgling players to press their World Cup claims.

Toa Samoa will celebrate 30 years of rugby league in the country by playing it's first official Test on home soil against the Bati.

Fiji Bati coach Mick Potter said it will be a chance for some younger players to impress.

"We're going to have the opportunity to have a look at some guys that probably just sit below some of the other players. We've had about 13 players have to pull out for various reasons so we've got a pretty deep squad and there's an opportunity to have a look at some younger guys playing, as well as some regulars you've seen before."

Fiji Residents take on Tonga in Suva.

Local based Fiji Residents players take on Tonga earlier this year. Photo: Fiji National Rugby League

Proposed changes to rugby league's eligibility rules could also benefit Fiji in the lead-up to next year's World Cup.

The Rugby League International Federation has approved plans that would allow eligible players to nominate both a tier one and tier two nation to represent.

Players would also be free to switch between the countries multiple times with no stand-down period and play both State of Origin, if eligible, and for their native Island country.

Mick Potter said the proposals could be a big boost to the Fiji squad.

"The possibility of Jarryd Hayne coming back, the possibility of Semi (Radradra) - if he doesn't get picked for Australia - to be able to play and there's quite a few opportunities for others players to be able to drop back, so whether or not they're Tongan, Samoan or Fijian. It does open up some avenues and some options for us."

Mick Potter said the bulk of the Fiji team will be picked from NRL level as well as the Queensland and New South Wales Cups but there will be a few locals included too.

Former Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter will take charge of Fiji for the Pacific Test in May.

Mick Potter Photo: PHOTOSPORT