THE rugby league international against Italy in Australia this Friday will lay the platform for the Fiji Bati's preparations for the 2013 World Cup which will be hosted by Wales and England.
Wes Naiqama, the Newcastle Knights centre who is bound for the Penrith Panthers next season, will lead the side which includes two other Australian National Rugby League club players Kevin Naiqama (Newcastle Knights) and Marika Koroibete (West Tigers). English Super League star Daryl Millard (Catalans Dragons) will also be part of the team.
The Fiji Bati with their ten local players flew out to Sydney yesterday morning.
Fiji National Rugby League development officer Jo Rabele said Italy was an unknown opposition.
He said they would not take them lightly. "This is the start of our campaign for next year's World Cup," Rabele said.
"Italy is certainly unknown opposition. It is something like last time we had during the World Cup playing against France whom we did not know much about. So we will not take them lightly."
"The match is a stepping stone to the World Cup. This is our first preparation. We will try and see that all the boys that have been selected are given a run."