Rugby League World Cup: Australia v Fiji preview

Last Updated: 02/11/13 5:02am

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Jarryd Hayne and Petero Civoniceva will both come up against former team-mates when Australia face Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup.

Winger Hayne will win his seventh cap for the Kangaroos in the Group A fixture at Langtree Park in St Helens on Saturday night having played in the 2008 tournament for Fiji, where he helped them reach the semi-finals.

The 25-year-old's selection is one of seven changes by Australia coach Tim Sheens as he rotates his squad following the opening win over England in Cardiff.

"It's obviously going to be an emotional game but I'm excited and looking forward to it," Hayne said.

"Everyone pretty much knows what it did to my life in 2008 and how it changed it. I will always honour it because it was a great experience.

"My heart will always be with Australia but my soul will always be with Fiji.

"It was a bit of a shock making the Australian team. I thought I would be playing for Fiji. I always knew I was coming to the World Cup, I just didn't know which team I was playing for."

Slater rested

Hayne - whose Fijian father Manoa Thompson had a season with Warrington - starts in a back line that will see Greg Inglis shifted to full-back to deputise for the rested Billy Slater.

Australia will also give scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans a start alongside Jonathan Thurston and there will be debuts in the pack for Boyd Cordner and Josh Papalii, though the former will have to wait for his opportunity from the bench.

The uncapped forwards will go up against a man who has won no fewer than 45 caps for Australia in Civoniceva, who will lead the Fijians into battle as they look to upset the odds.

The Fijians lost 52-0 to the same opponents in that semi-final in Sydney five years ago and Melbourne Storm centre Sisa Waq knows they face another tough task at the weekend.

"You have to give yourself a chance in matches against Australia and you have to be able to go at them for the full 80 minutes," Waqa said.

"The main thing for us is to make sure we play our game right. It is important to cut out our errors."

Australia: G Inglis; J Hayne, J Morris, M Jennings, D Boyd; J Thurston, D Cherry-Evans; M Scott, C Smith (capt), J Tamou, L Lewis, J Papalii, N Myles.

Subs: B Cordner, R Farah, A Fifita, P Gallen.

Fiji: K Naiqama; M Koroibete, S Waqa, W Naiqama, A Uate; A Noilea, A Groom; A Sims, J Storer, P Civoniceva (capt), T Sims, J Bukuya, K Sims.

Subs (from): A Koroisau, E Vunakece, K Evans, V Junior Roqica, D Millard.

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