6 November, 2017, 12:00 am
Having scored 11 tries in their week-one win, it was surprising to hear Jarryd Hayne suggest the Fiji Bati would have to focus on their defence after the 58-12 demolishment of the USA.
Fiji coach Mick Potter has backed-up Hayne’s suggestions by naming a virtually unchanged side for Sunday’s date with Wales in Townsville.
Hayne is on the cusp of becoming the outright leading try scorer in World Cup history, so his thoughts on his side’s performance at the other end of the field are worthy of reflection.
“Our attack’s really clicked, but I think we’ll be doing a bit more defence this week,” Hayne said after the win.
“It probably wasn’t our best defensive effort.”
Rumours have been swirling in Australia this week about Hayne’s own club future which some have predicted could have a destabilising effect on Fiji’s campaign.
However, Fiji forward Ben Nakubuwai says the Bati’ superstar has remained focused in preparation for the Wales encounter.
“The big thing is, in our camp no-one is above anyone else,” Nakubuwai told the Townsville Bulletin.
“When you come into this camp, whether you’re the best player in the game or a fringe first-grader, everyone’s equal.
“I’m not too sure what’s going on with Jarryd, but in camp he seems to be leading the boys well and he’s training pretty hard,” Nakubuwai said.
“It’s good to have him in camp, he really leads us around really well.
Despite having 10 scored tries more than their Welsh opponents, Fiji haven’t chosen to rest players as they look for their first set of back-to-back wins at a World Cup.
The first team of the tournament to play at Port Moresby in front of PNG’s fanatical fans, Wales felt the full front of the frenzy receiving a 50-6 thumping.
Yesterday’s match was the first international Wales have played in Australia since 1975 and their fate at RLWC2017 was in the balance of the result against Fiji.
Wales coach John Kear made three changes to the side who lost to PNG, all forced by injury and concussion. Danny Ansell replaced halfback Matt Seamark, who misses out on the chance to play in Townsville — his birthplace — and Joe Burke got his first start with forward Gavin Bennion.
Fiji was without one of their best forwards in Kane Evans who will miss the rest of the tournament after undergoing surgery on a broken wrist sustained in their win over USA.