June Internationals: Australia v Fiji Preview


Our rugby scribe looks ahead to Saturday’s Test match between Australia and Fiji. 

It has been a tough year for Australian rugby fans thus far with their Super Rugby franchises looking absolutely horrific. The visit of Fiji will offer some relief, however, as the hosts should have no problems seeing off a side that, while containing some class players, has lost three of their last four clashes with the Wallabies by 43 points or more.

Australia v Fiji | Saturday 10 June | AAMI Park | 07:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Australia 1/100 | Draw 30/1 | Fiji14/1
Australia (-29.5) 9/10 | Fiji (+29.5) 9/10

Another year of dreadful showings from Australia’s Super Rugby franchises will have Australian rugby fans wondering whether it’s worth the admission fee to watch any of these June Tests. And while I’m all too aware how dire their franchises have once again been – I’ve had to sit through hours of Australian derbies for my Super Rugby previews – Australian rugby fans do have reason to feel slightly optimistic. First off, their three-Tests are against rather weak sides with the Fijians and Scots missing a plethora of first stringers and the Italians being extremely poor travellers.

With the Fijians unlikely to pose too many issues, Michael Cheika has opted to blood some youngsters with Waratahs flanker Ned Hannigan being handed a debut. There’s also a starting spot for Reds utility back Carmichael Hunt, who comes in at twelve. The biggest change, however, sees Tatafu Polota-Nau get a start at hooker in place of incumbent skipper Steven Moore. The captain’s armband will be worn by Michael Hooper, which is possibly a signal that Moore’s days in the Wallaby set up are numbered.

I was quite surprised not to see either Nemani Nadolo or Patrick Osbourne on the Fijian team sheet for this weekend’s fixture. Neither player is listed as injured. And both toured with Fiji at the close of last year. So, I’m rather perplexed by their absence.

Anyway, there are a few players that you’ll be familiar with like the Rebels Ben Volavola who gets a start at fly-half for the Fijians. Another man whose name will ring a bell in avid rugby viewers heads is winger Vereniki Goneva. The flyer was in great touch for the Leicester Tigers during the Aviva Premiership, and he will offer a real threat down the touchline.

We move on from flying wingers and on to the fatties up front and this is an area where the Fijian's are likely to struggle. While they have got a decent back row, the Islanders just don’t have the tight five to truly compete at the set piece. I expect to see the Aussies dominate the line out and scrum which will drastically swing the possession and territory stakes in their favour.

Verdict: Australia (-29.5) 9/10
The Aussies really need a solid performance here so as to get their fans onside before the Rugby Championship gets underway in August. I think they will do just this with a big win over the Fijians.

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Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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