24 Nov 2017

Sport: Fiji Bati dare to dream against the defending champs

1:36 pm on 24 November 2017

Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama is bullish about his side's chances of beating Australia in tonight's opening Rugby League World Cup semi final in Brisbane.

The Bati stunned New Zealand 4-2, in a try-less affair, to advance to another final four match-up against the defending champions.

The Kangaroos prevailed 52-0 and 64-0 at the same stage in 2008 and 2013, and have won all five World Cup clashes against the Bati.

Australia's Jarryd Hayne scores for Australia against Fiji in their 2013 World Cup semi final.

Australia's Jarryd Hayne scores for Australia against Fiji in their 2013 World Cup semi final. Photo: AFP

But Kevin Naiqama believes a different result is on the cards this evening.

"We're going to win that's it. I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think we could win," he said.

"I've got the utmost belief in this group and the coaching staff we have in place so we're just going to continue to work hard and get that two points."

Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama

Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fiji coach Mick Potter said they will need to produce another massive defensive effort to have any chance against the defending champions.

"They're the utmost professionals aren't they - there's no chinks in the armour, they concede very little points-wise and they score a lot and they've got a great leader with (Cam) Smith, (who along with Billy) Slater (and Cooper) Cronk they get them round the park," he said.

"They've got some really good plays that they come up with and with Mal (Meninga) leading them I'm sure there won't be any slackening off."

Fijian players could achieve a couple of major milestones in Brisbane, with Suliasi Vunivalu two tries away from matching Wendell Sailor's record of 10 in a World Cup tournament.

Bati winger Suliasi Vunivalu bagged a hat-trick against Italy.

Suliasi Vunivalu leads the World Cup try-scoring charts. Photo: NRL Photos

Meanwhile Jarryd Hayne - who scored a hat-trick in Australia's victory over Fiji four years ago - is tied on 14 with former teammate-turned-rival Billy Slater for most ever World Cup tries.

For Mick Potter another milestone would be just as pleasing.

"We'd like to score a try, that would be nice," laughed Potter.

"It would be an improvement if we could just get our attack going...so yes we want to improve our attack but I'm focused on our defence and stopping the Aussies. If you can stop them then you're still a chance of scoring points."

The winner of tonight's semi final will face either England or Tonga in the grand final.

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