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Positive start for Bati

Fred Wesley
Monday, October 30, 2017

The Fiji Bati came off with a resounding 58-12 win over the USA on Saturday night to send out a warning to other sides at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The Bati were on fire.

Our linebreakers were in tune, carving up huge chunks of territory in the leading tackle counts against a USA side that was at best rattled in the opening minutes of the clash.

Our backline was focused and our attacking shape a bit more polished and a step up from the Pacific Tri-Nations' campaign.

Frontrowers Ashton Sims and Kane Evans were our go forward men in the trenches.

Secondrowers Brayden Wiliame and Viliame Kikau were strong on the edges, providing momentum on attack and passion in defence.

Lockforward Tui Kamikamica was a tower of strength in general play, providing thrust right across the tackle counts. There was no doubt about the positive impact of hooker Apisai Koroisau on attack. His creativity and experience at dummyhalf was a telling factor for the Bati.

His passes were spot-on, his nose for gaps at the ruck were a strong factor and his communication with the halves and fullback and skipper Kevin Naiqama were a strong part of his game.

But if there was a factor of the Bati game that should stand out, it would have to be shared by the halves.

Halfback Henry Raiwalui and five eight Jarryd Hayne directed our attacks well.

Hayne was calm under pressure, picking out runners with cut-out passes and fed our running lines well on attack. He came off with a blinder and anchored his strong start with a number of try-assists and a try himself. There was great excitement in our centres, with Akuila Uate and Taane Milne proving to be a threat inside our wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Marcelo Montoya.

Fullback Naiqama was strong in defence and was a constant danger when he linked up with the backline.

Coach Mick Potter selected an interchange bench that maintained the pressure on the USA.

Forwards Eloni Vunakece and Jacob Saifiti kept the pressure along the trenches on attack and were effective in defence.

As we look forward to our next game against Wales on Sunday, November 5, fans will no doubt be keen to see our side maintain composure under pressure and complete their tackle sets.

Saturday's effort lifted the Bati on to a very strong platform. Attention now shifts to our men addressing chinks in our armour before the game against Wales.

Fans will, however, be rubbing their hands in glee in the wake of Saturday's victory.

What a victory! What a game!

Go Fiji, go.

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