RLWC2017 Quarter Final 3 – New Zealand v Fiji – Match Preview

New Zealand v Fiji is the third Quarter Finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, and we have our full preview and review after the game.

rlwc new zealand v fiji

New Zealand v Fiji saw no tries, and a second straight upset against a Pacific nation for New Zealand, except this time it sees them exit the tournament. Fiji make a third Rugby League World Cup semi final in a row, and time to boast – we predicted the result and margin. Check out our preview below, but before that catch up with our review too.

For more on all of the World Cup visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE

Now onto the New Zealand v Fiji game.



RESULT – Who Won?

Goals: A. Koroisau (15), T. Milne (62)

Goals: S. Johnson (45)


How Did They Win?

Not with a try, that’s for sure.

In a contest that was high on tension and low on points, Fiji managed to outlast their more fancied, experienced and expected winning opponents.

Truth be told the 4-2 score line didn’t really highlight the dominance Fiji had over New Zealand, and the Bati were unlucky not to get the double figure victory their fantastic effort deserved. And the lack of effort the Kiwis effort deserved.

Despite not scoring a try Fiji looked the most likely to score and they almost did in the fifth minutes through  Brayden Williame who dropped the ball over the line sadly. They almost scored again 10 minutes later and had all the running on the back of loads of Kiwi penalties and their 50% completion rate. In between they converted one of those penalties into two points. Which would become surprisingly vital later on.

New Zealand’s most promising attack came just before half time, but amounted to nothing and half time scoreline read 2-0 Fiji. Surely there would be a burst of second half tries.

No, the first score of the second half was Kiwi penalty which levelled the scores, against common belieft as the Kiwis were playing with a man down after Jordan Rapana was sent to the sin bin for holding down too long after a big Vanivalu break.

Halfway through the second half Roger Tuivasa-Sheck slipped over when seemingly destined to score the game’s first try. And that miss was punished a few minutes later when the fullback knocked on from the kick return, and not long after that the Kiwis gave away the pnalty that ultimately decided the game.

That didn’t stop either side striving to get that elusive four pointer, but in the end it was penalty goals that sorted out Quarter Final 3 between New Zealand v Fiji, and for the second week in a row it wasn’t New Zealand in winner’s circle.



What did we learn?

That Fiji’s form in the pool stages should have been taken seriously. Yes it was against weaker opposition, but winning form is good form, and the Bati really looked like the only winner throughout.

Is the continual underachievement of the Warriors rubbing off on the international side? While the national side is not made up of purely NZ Warriors players, there is still a lot

David Kidwell has probably coached New Zealand for the last time. Pre tournament defections and reports of player unrest are now combined with underachievement and he will no doubt get the blame for it all.

Looking at Pool B, three of the 2017 Rugby League’s biggest disappointments came from this Group. Scotland went a long way backwards from the side who drew with New Zealand in 2016, Samoa played four game and made a Quarter Final without winning, andNew Zealand would now have to be the tournament’s most disappointing.


What was the Moment of the Match?

The Roger Tuivasa-Sheck slipping over when trying to score. Not only did he not contribute the four pointer, he knocked on not long after which set up Fiji with the territory, and they got themselves the penalty that decided the game not long after.


Any other bits and pieces?

  • Still can’t get enough of the pre match song from Fiji before the game. Too good.
  • What do New Zealand do now? If anything the rise of the Pacific Nations gives the players that could represent multiple nations the push to join the tier two sides.



We’ve decided that a tournament as big as the 2017 Rugby League World Cup needs a Player of the tournament, and who better than International relations specialists Kevin Tamati and Greg Dowling to name our award.

We award points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale every match, and the results for this game is below. For the running total from all of the games visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE









Where and When: LIVE Saturday 18th Nov – Wellington
When is it on TV? Channel 7Mate @ 5:30pm AEDT


What’s the Story?

New Zealand were beaten by Tonga in a fantastic game, but a shock result for the Kiwis, of sorts. Actually, given the Kiwis preparation before the tournament and Tonga’s irresistible climb from Dark Horses to contenders, it really isn’t much of a surprise. With the loss to Tonga came second place in Pool B, and a harder road to the Grand Final which now sees them potentially play Australia in the semi final now.

The Kiwis get a chance to redeem themselves this weekend in Wellington, but they once again come across a Pacific rugby league nation is some very good form in Fiji.

Fiji have been one of the better sides to watch, and have been in very good form too. The Bati won their 3 Pool Games by a combined 138 points, and while some will argue they are playing weaker opposition than New Zealand, they were clinical and dominant, aside from the first half against Italy. Their attack in the huge win over Wales was some of the finest attacking rugby league this year.

At the heart of a lot of it has been the Rugby League Headline machine Jarryd Hayne. His stocks have risen slightly during the Rugby League World Cup, having done some damage to his reputation with a very ordinary season for the Titans. He was quieter against Italy last weekend, and was even sent to the Sin Bin after a scuffle broke out.

New Zealand’s pool matches saw them easily beat Samoa 38-8 and thrash Scotland 74-6. Five eighth Te Maire Martin was a part of that team that tore Scotland apart, and his return to the position replacing Kodi Nikorima gives New Zealand a better pairing in the halves. There are no other major changes for New Zealand heading into the game.



Who Will Win and Why?

Going out on a limb here and saying that the third quarter final between New Zealand v Fiji will be an upset. There isn’t a great deal between the sides, perhaps the Kiwis have the better halves combination, and slightly more impact off the bench, but in general the backlines and forward packs are of similar strength.

Fiji’s forward might lack the big NRL names, but the back three of Viliame Kikau, Brayden Williame and Tui Kamikamica have been tremendous and are more than a match for the Kiwis three. And in Suliasi Vunivalu Fiji have one of the best finishers in rugby league, if not the very best. Sure, there’s no Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the back, who has been in great form, but their fullback Kevin Naiqama has been quite good too, and Taane Milne and surprise packet Akuila Uate have been great on the whole.

Then there’s momentum. Fiji finished off really well against a tough and feisty Italy last weekend, whereas New Zealand threw a decent half time lead to lose to Tonga.

It will be tight, it is a risk to tip Fiji, but we will.

Fiji by 2


Who to watch for?

Jarryd Hayne is an obvious choice for a player to watch, his performance will shape whether Fiji can make it three Rugby League World Cup semi final appearances in a row. We’re sure he’d love to seize the moment to sign off a very ordinary 2017 in some style. If he can lead Fiji to an upset win over New Zealand it could wash away some of the sins of the 2017 season.

We could go for another flashy back for the New Zealanders to watch in RTS but we won’t. We’ve been big fans of Martin Taupau for some time, and the big man has been impressive so far in this World Cup. If he can fire up the Kiwis and drag the forward pack with him onto victory. The forwards can keep Jarryd Hayne quiet, which will in turn keep the Fijians quiet.

Two other quick ones are Nelson Asofa-Solomona who has made a great impact off the bench for New Zealand, and Viliame Kikau from the Bati second row.



Who’s in the Teams?


  1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Dean Whare 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Martin Taupau 9. Danny Levi 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 11. Simon Mannering 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Adam Blair (c) Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Russell Packer 16. Isaac Liu 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Kenneath Bromwich 19. Jason Nightingale 20. Peta Hiku 21. Addin Fonua-blake


  1. Kevin Naiqama (c) 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Taane Milne 4. Akuila Uate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Henry Raiwalui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Eloni Vunakece 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Brayden Williame 13. Tui Kamikamica Interchange: 14. Joe Lovodua 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Junior Roqica 17. Ben Nakubuwai Reserves: 18. James Storer



Coming soon.



We’ve decided that a tournament as big as the 2017 Rugby League World Cup needs a Player of the tournament, and who better than International relations specialists Kevin Tamati and Greg Dowling to name our award.

We award points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale every match, and the results for this game is below. For the running total from all of the games visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE

Points coming after the match.



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