11 November, 2017, 12:00 am
ANYMORE injuries to the Vodafone Fiji Bati side will push coach Mick Potter into a tight corner in finding capable replacements.
Fiji is not only the youngest team in the Rugby League World Cup, it also has a player short of the normal squad requirement of 24.
But that is not a worry for Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Mick Potter who has had to look for two replacements for injured Kane Evans and Korbin Sims.
While he has brought in 21-year-old Pio Sokobalavu to replace Sims, no one has come in for Evans.
“I think the guys that are in the team are very good, we have picked on versatility as well as we have got some players who can play in different positions,” Potter said.
“And we have brought in a couple of young players who can play in different positions.
“I am really happy with how they are going, they are so adaptable in training, they are willing to try anything and the older guys are willing to help them through. They are really keen on making sure that we develop the young guys as well as get the best possible results.”
Fiji’s squad of 23 has 16 players who are 25 years old or younger. One of last week’s try scorers, Salesi Junior Faingaa is the second youngest player in the tournament at 19 years.
Potter said the injuries to some senior players had provided opportunities for younger players.
“Junior Salesi made his debut (last week) and he showed exactly what he can do, he’s got great skills and he trained the morning of the game because he didn’t think he would play. So, he did the training session as well as played the full 80 minutes, he surprised himself as well as a couple of others.
“But I was confident because of the players around him in Taane Milne and Jarryd Hayne , I thought he would get through very well.
“We haven’t got too many left to choose from, there’re possibilities, I do consult with my coaching staff and what we don’t want to do is take a risk, we want to put out our best possible team all the time.
“Because you don’t get a second chance if you lose so make we really want to make sure that we win the game.
“At the moment we are going with the best team we can select,” Potter said.