Rugby League World Cup: New Zealand v Fiji Preview

Near neighbours and arch rivals, New Zealand and Fiji, will lock horns in the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals this Saturday the 18th of November. 

New Zealand will be looking to avoid another upset to one of their neighbours when they lock horns with Fiji this weekend. The Kiwis' come into this one off the back of a shock six-point loss to Tonga. They will need to be a lot more clinical if they are to avoid dropping out of the tournament as their opponents, Fiji will be full of confidence after recording three victories during their pool stage matches.

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New Zealand | v Fiji | Saturday 18 November | Wellington Regional Stadium | 08:30 (SAST)


To Win (80 Mins)
New Zealand 2/13 | Draw 25/1 | Fiji 9/2
Handicap
New Zealand (-14.5) 9/10| Fiji (+14.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap

New Zealand

Kiwi mentor, David Kidwell, would have lashed out at his charges after they let a 16-2 half-time lead slip against Tonga. Ill-discipline and an almost blasé attitude cost the New Zealanders immensely during the second half as they conceded a whopping 26-points while only adding six to their own tally.

Last Saturday's loss resulted in the Kiwi's securing a date with the Fijians rather than a much easier match against Lebanon. This also means they will face a tough semi-final draw if they get the victory.

The New Zealanders were actually rather impressive up until last week's shock defeat. They got their tournament off to a solid start, beating Samoa 38-8, following that up with a 74-6 victory over Scotland. If they can recapture that early form, then they may still have a chance of making the League World Cup Final and prove their pundits right.

Fiji

Regardless of the code of rugby, the Fijians always seem to bring the magic. This was evident a fortnight ago as they put on something of an attacking exhibition against the Welsh during the second set of round-robin fixtures. It's not often that you'll see a side score more than 50 points in a League game. So to beat Wales 72-6 was quite the achievement.

The Fijians were also on top attacking form during the first week of the tournament as they beat the USA 58-12. And while they didn't close their pool phase campaign off in such sensational form, they showed another side of their game, defending like men possessed during their 38-10 victory over the Italians.

Verdict: Fiji (+14.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap
This is a rather big handicap considering the form the Fijians are in. They have swotted aside everything that's been thrown at them thus far and I can see them giving the Kiwis a real scare here. I'll be having a strike on the plus line.


Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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