SPORTS

Don’t Underestimate Fiji, Says Folu

Speculation continues to mount as to which top tier rugby nation from the World Cup ‘pool of death’ will miss out on a place in the finals – Australia, England
22 Aug 2015 09:47
Don’t Underestimate Fiji, Says Folu
Leader of HOPE, Tupou Draunidalo.

Speculation continues to mount as to which top tier rugby nation from the World Cup ‘pool of death’ will miss out on a place in the finals – Australia, England or Wales.

But Wallabies back Israel Folau warns that Fiji – who round out their World Cup pool along with Uruguay – still loom as a potential bogey team if Australia fail to respect them.

Fiji are ninth on the World Rugby standings as of August 17. Australia were third, England fourth, Wales sixth and Uruguay 19th.

But you only need to think back to the 2007 World Cup in France where Fiji held the eventual winners, South Africa, to 20-20 at halftime in the quarterfinal at Marseilles.

The Springboks went on to win 37-20, but Fiji nevertheless gave the Springboks an almighty scare. Hence, Folau believes the Wallabies can ill-afford to treat Fiji as any less of a danger than their top tier pool rivals in this year’s World Cup which starts September 18.

A shock loss to Fiji, who Australia play first on September 23 at Cardiff, would send the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign into a spin, knowing that after facing Uruguay on September 27 at Birmingham – and needing to finish in the top two of their pool to qualify for the quarterfinals – they still have to play powerhouses England on October 3 and Wales on October 10 at Twickenham.

Asked on Thursday if the Wallabies have spoken of Fiji’s threat, Folau said: “Not yet, but I’m sure the guys already know that.

“Fiji are a bit unpredictable how they play. So you can’t really train for the certain style of [how] they play footy.

“Anything can happen on the [day]. We just want to make sure we train for everything, we prepare for anything possible and make sure we tick all the boxes.”

“This is definitely the pinnacle,” Folau said. “Now that it is getting closer I’m realising how big the event is.

“Not that I’m feeling any pressure. You want to try and make the most of the opportunity. It comes around every four years.

“Some guys don’t even get to play in a World Cup. So [I am] just grateful for the position I am in.”AAP

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