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Tough test

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

TONIGHT'S Rugby League World Cup match between Fiji and Italy will be dictated by the conditions of Canberra Stadium, which is expected to be colder and slippery than warm Townsville.

Pool D leader Fiji has the opportunity to cement its quarter-final spot against Italy, which must win this game if it is to have a chance for the playoffs.

Fiji is leading the points table with four points and a better points difference than Italy, which has two points. Italy must beat Fiji by more than 46 points to win that spot against either Tonga or New Zealand next weekend.

Italy lost 12-36 to Ireland in their first match before they defeated USA 46-0 last week. Fiji scored 58-12 against USA and 72-6 against Wales last week.

While Fiji has scored the most points in the tournament from its 25 tries against USA and Wales, Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Mick Potter says it is because it has played against two teams that were still developing.

Both Italy and Fiji have had a short turn around having only one and half day training after arriving from Townsville where they played their last pool matches.

While Townsville was warmer with perfect conditions for the Fijian side, Canberra is more different.

"The difference will be the cold, it will be slippery, there is the time difference so there will be a bit of dew on the ground and possibly some rain," Potter said.

"The boys quite enjoyed Townsville but I think it will be a lot more even now.

"The Italians with a lot of NRL experience will know how to play in these conditions. We need to make sure we play accordingly as well.

"Nothing changes as far as what we do when we go out there but the type of football that we play may be dictated by the conditions.

"But it shouldn't be an issue, I know our players are adapting because the game is being played right around different areas in Australia and New Zealand

"So you adapt to the conditions otherwise you jeopardise your result," Potter said.

Potter says the match will come down to tactics, making we control the ball when we have it and making sure the defence line is right and putting pressure on the opposition when they have the ball.

"I am looking forward to another good display because it is another step because they have a few NRL players and former NRL players so I am going to do a bit of research on the team," Potter said.

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