NORTHLAND needs to believe in itself before challenging Nadroga for the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy this Saturday, says Fiji Rugby Union coaching director Franck Boivert.
The Frenchman said it would be all about the mind game as the two teams clash for the coveted title, supposedly at Prince Charles Park in Nadi.
Boivert said Nadroga was not invincible and for any team to overcome the giants of local rugby, self-belief was important.
He said the challengers had a huge advantage with fresh players in their teams compared to bruised and batted Stallions, who had been continuously gracing the field for the past few weeks.
Boivert said Nadroga had to work on rotating its players to avoid physical and mental fatigue in the match.
"The game starts with 0-0 and its 15 men against 15 so there is no advantage to any team before the match," he said.
"It's all in the minds of the players. Northland needs to have confidence in itself and believe that they can match Nadroga.
"If they come into the match thinking Nadroga is a better side then it is impossible to beat them."
The Esala Nauga-coached side, fresh from defending the Digicel Cup title, came out firing to humiliate Tebara Bus Tailevu in the first Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy challenge match over the weekend.
The Outrigger on the Lagoon Nadroga defeated Tailevu 43-26 to send a stern warning to the remaining challenging teams.
In this weekend's match, the Setefano Samoca-skippered side goes in as the favourites but Boivert said nothing could be taken away from the Northland side.
Referring to the stats from the Digicel Cup competition, Boivert said the Ilivasi Tabua-coached Northland looked better of the two sides.
"Looking at the defence, Northland is placed on the fourth spot while Nadroga managed the second spot behind Tailevu," he said.
"In discipline Northland has proven a much better side than Nadroga. Northland is ranked third in this category while Nadroga is in the fifth or sixth place."
Boivert said Northland also proved a better side in the kicking department as they converted most of their tries and penalties this season.
"So it all comes down to the mind game. The team which is mentally tough before and during the game will prevail."
Northland team manager Joeli Rabuli said the side was bracing for a tough battle against Nadroga.
"They will be tough to beat considering their form lately but we will give our best," he said.
Northland is banking on the return of its overseas-based players to bolster their campaign in the challenge.