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Vunivalu, the X factor

Elenoa Baselala
Saturday, October 28, 2017

WINGER Suliasi Vunivalu will be Fiji's X-factor in today's match against USA in the first round of Rugby League World Cup pool matches.

Coach Mick Potter said he would be the target as the side polished and practised moves with Jarryd Hayne kicking to Vunivalu during the team's final training session yesterday.

Complimenting Vunivalu's aerial stunts, Potter admitted that Hayne has not done much kicking in past seasons but was practising hard in the lead -p to the RLWC.

The last time Hayne played five-eighth was in the 2000s, in his early years with Parramatta Eels.

Hayne's 40-20 kicks during the Pacific Tri-Nations two weeks ago were not perfect, at least twice being out on the full.

For Hayne to kick a successful 40-20 kick today, he must kick the ball from behind Fiji's own 40 metre line and the ball must go into touch behind the USA's 20 metre line, but before the goal line.

The ball must bounce within the field of play at least once before finding the touchline. Fiji will be rewarded with a scrum at the point where the ball left the field of play, if unsuccessful then USA would have a scrum from where the ball was kicked.

Potter is comforted by the fact that Hayne was a good kicker in his younger years and that "does not just go away".

"I hope Suli will cause a lot of trouble tomorrow (today)," Potter said.

Kicking to Vunivalu will not be the only option with Potter intending to use other players as well.

Overall, the coach was content with the players' defensive skills and "shape", something he was worried about a week ago.

Fiji, he says is prepared for USA which has a number of unknown players. And while our team has a number of well-known NRL rugby players including the (arguably) world's most known rugby league player in Hayne, Potter said there was no superstar in the Fiji Bati team.

"We have no superstar and nobody has been called a superstar," he said.

Meanwhile, Brayden Wiliame is now in the 17 for today's match replacing injured Korbin Sims.

Fiji plays USA at 9.40pm today.

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