Rugby League World Cup preview: England v Fiji
Last Updated: 09/11/13 11:46am
England tackle Fiji at the KC Stadium in Hull on Saturday with both teams looking to build momentum heading into the knock-out stages of the World Cup.
With tournament favourites Australia set to finish top of Group A and minnows Ireland having all but exited, both England and Fiji are likely to progress through to the quarter-finals against either France or Samoa next week.
However, that does not mean there is nothing to play for with England's players knowing giving anything less than 100 per cent could mean missing out on Steve McNamara's next team selection.
England returned to winning ways last time out with a 42-0 success over Ireland having lost their group opener to the Kangaroos while Fiji lost 34-2 to Tim Sheens' men after previously seeing off Ireland.
Coach Steve McNamara has made three changes for their trip to East Yorkshire with Sam Burgess, Lee Mossop and Michael McIlorum all making his 19-man squad.
Burgess returns from a one-match ban in place of brother Tom while Mossop and McIlorum, who has been included in a matchday squad for the first time in the tournament, come in for Gareth Widdop and James Roby.
That means England are likely to retain their halves partnership of Kevin Sinfield and Rangi Chase while Wigan hooker McIlorum should start at number nine.
"We have trained well and we are ready to put in a performance," said McNamara. "I get the feeling the group is on the verge of some really big performances and this will be one of them."
Leading the Fiji charge will be 37-year-old front-row forward Petero Civoniceva, the former Kangaroos ace who has rolled back the years during his swansong with the Pacific Islanders.
Civoniceva retired from the NRL at the end of 2012 but kept himself fit playing for his local club Redcliffe so that he would be in a position to lead the Bati in the World Cup.
Fiji coach Rick Stone is hoping to see a little more attacking flair from his troops after they were restricted to just two points against the Kangaroos at a damp Langtree Park.
"I felt that we could have thrown a bit more at Australia in attack," said Stone. "But I thought we made them work for their tries and overall I thought we were sound defensively.
"The kicking game probably needs to improve a bit from us, but I thought we handled Greg Inglis pretty well from full-back.
"We have got to improve a little bit to challenge England - they are still a few notches in front of us at the minute, at this particular stage, so we have got to get ourselves together, get over to Hull and see if we can do a little more to our attack."
England's 19-man squad: Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Rob Burrow, Rangi Chase, Leroy Cudjoe, Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Hill, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O'Loughlin, Kevin Sinfield, Sam Tomkins, Kallum Watkins, Ben Westwood
Fiji's 19-man squad: Peni Botiki, Jayson Bukuya, Petero Civoniceva, Kane Evans, Aaron Groom, Apisai Koroisau, Daryl Millard, Ryan Millard, Kevin Naiqama, Waisale Ligani Naiqama, Vitale Junior Roqica, Ashton Sims, Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims, James Storer, Akuila Uate, Eloni Vunakece Sisa Ledua Waqa, Semi Radradra Turgasoli Waqavatu
2013 WC: England v Fiji
Follow the action as England battle Fiji at Hull's KC Stadium.
Sam Burgess is taking little notice of criticism in Australia that he is a 'thug' ahead of Saturday's clash with Fiji.
Rangi Chase is happy to adapt his game to suit England's needs if it keeps him in the side at the World Cup.