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Tue 22 Sep 2015 | 07:14

Preview: Australia v Fiji

Preview: Australia v Fiji
Tue 22 Sep 2015 | 07:14

Preview: Australia v Fiji

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Fiji, battered and bruised after their opening World Cup match against England, will be looking to get their first win at the tournament.

Fiji can be particularly proud of their forward pack's performance, who competed well with a strong English pack.

Fiji will be hoping that their pack can stand up to a Australian pack that impressed during the Rugby Championship, where evidently the coaching team have been working long and hard to erase the tag of being a weak scrumming unit.

Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola, who played at the Waratahs for the past couple years, will have a great understanding of the way the Australian backline play – in particular Waratahs trio flyhalf Bernard Foley, wing Rob Horne and fullback Israel Folau, whom would have played with Volovala at the Waratahs.

Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo had another fantastic performance in Fiji's opening match and will hope continue his great form against the Aussies – who should know Nadolo well from Super Rugby.

Australia have some outstanding players in their side.

In the pack they have the likes of David Pocock and Michael Hooper, whom both had an outstanding Rugby Championship – which saw Australia crowned eventual champions.

In the Australian backline veteran Matt Giteau wears the No.12 jumper and will add some 'know-how' to the Australian back division.

Australia will also look to Israel Folau to add some spark to the backline. The Australian fullback was one of the standout players both in the Rugby Championship and in Super Rugby for the Waratahs.

Although on paper one would think Australia should dominate this match , I expect Fiji to come out all-guns-blazing and prove to be a tough challenge for the Australians.

At the end of the day, it all starts up front. Australia's forward pack will have to work hard to give their star studded back-line front foot ball. 

Players to Watch:

For Australia: Israel Folau will look to shine on the world stage! The Australian fullback is a serious talent and usually produces the goods. David Pocock is having a fantastic season so far, the amount of turnovers David Pocock makes is outstanding. I expect to Pocock to score a couple tries from the maul.

For Fiji: The Fijian flyer Nemani Nadolo will be one to watch yet again.Nemani Nadolo busts tackles at will, along with having an entire array of skills. He can step, he can offload, he can bust tackles, he can kick, he is a total rugby player!. Prop Campese Ma'afu could give the Australians a tough time upfront. 

Head to Head: Battle of the props! Fiji's Campese Maa'fu against Australias Sekope Kepu could be a great battle at scrumtime. Nemani Nadolo against expierienced campaigner Adam Ashley-Cooper should also be a good contest. Adam Ashley-Cooper is usually pretty reliable of attack and defence, but with Nadolo running at his channel, it could prove to be a hell of a test for him. Former team-mates Ben Volavola (Who signed for the Crusaders for next season) and Bernard Foley should have a battle to remember. Volavola played second fiddle to Foley and will be looking to get the upper hand on the International stage. 

Recent results:
2010: Australia won 49-3 Canberra
2007: Australia won 55-12 Montpellier (World Cup Pool Match)
2007: Australia won 49-0  Perth
1998: Australia won 66-20 Sydney 
1985: Australia won 31-9  Sydney 
1985: Australia won 52-28 Brisbane 
1984:
Australia won 16-3  Suva 
1980: Australia won 22-9  Suva 
1976:
Australia won 27-17 Sydney 
1976: Australia won 21-9  Brisbane 

Prediction: Australia should take this one by 12 points in a tight encounter.

Teams:

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale.

Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Akapusi Qera (captain), 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacement: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Isei Colati, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Nemia Kenatale, 22 Joshua Matavesi, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma.

Date: Wednesday, September 23
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 16.45 (15.45 GMT; Thursday September 24 01.45 AEST; Thursday 24 September 03.45 FJT)
Expected weather: After a chilly and bright start to the day, cloud and outbreaks of rain will spread southeastwards during the morning. Brighter with scattered showers following from the west later. High of 16°C, low of 12°
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)     
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Leighton Hodges (Wales)         
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Andrew Howitt
@ARHowitt12
@rugby365com

PV: 2
Preview: Australia V Fiji - Australia | Rugby365