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'For Fiji, ever Fiji'

Elenoa Baselala In Canberra, Australia
Friday, November 10, 2017

VODAFONE Fiji Bati skipper Kevin Naiqama is probably the most emotional in the team and among other national sports representatives when the national anthem is sung.

Naiqama wept openly when the anthem was sung before the Fiji-Wales clash in Townsville, spurring questions from local media on why he is so emotional or how he reaches that state.

"For me, this is the pinnacle of my rugby league career to represent the country of your heritage, that's where my parents grew up."

It's really close to my heart and it all obviously comes out during the national anthem," Naiqama said before the team's captain's run at the Canberra Stadium yesterday.

"We have a lot at stake tomorrow night and we are representing our country, family and friends."

Fiji is on the cusp of qualifying for the Rugby League World Cup quarterfinals for the third time in a row with Italy needing to win by at least 46 points to have a chance.

Naiqama has predicted that the game would be exciting.

"We have had an enjoyable two weeks, this will be our third game. We are building on each performance.

"Italy is going to be tougher and they're a stronger side than the last two teams.

"It will definitely be a very physical match, they have more experienced NRL players, we are in for a tough match but we are preparing for it," Naiqama added.

Coach Mick Potter said this would be Fiji's hardest test so far in the tournament.

He has predicted Italian captain Terry Campese and James Tedesco to be the players to watch in today's match.

Fiji, he said, would need to control the duo who are great offloaders.

However, he added, that five eighth Jarryd Hayne was playing well in the controlling the match and the team.

"We are going to give it our best shot, we've got a best mix of players," Potter added.

He said the Fiji team was driven by their passion to represent the country.

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