Wise Kativerata has been called up to take charge of Fiji ahead of their World Cup campaign after coach Joe Rabele was hospitalised.
NRL.com reported that Rabele fell ill soon after he arrived in England ahead of the tournament, which left assistant Brian McDermott in charge for their warm-up match against the hosts – resulting in a 50-0 defeat at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Kativerata will take charge of Fiji for their World Cup campaign, which kicks-off this Saturday against Australia at Headingley Stadium.
“Joe is not well, but life goes on. The job must be done,” Kativerata told NRL.com. “Joe Rabele has been feeling sick and they asked me to come in and do his role. I will take charge on Saturday, with Brian and the boys.
“If Joe comes back, we don’t know. That doesn’t change the way Kevin and the boys will prepare themselves. They are professional footballers. They get paid to play football.”
Former Featherstone and Hull KR coach James Webster is also on the coaching staff.
Fiji camp hit with injuries
The side were also hit with several injuries to their 24-man squad following their clash against England last Friday in Salford.
“We picked up about four injuries, so we’re looking for replacements,” Kativerata told Love Rugby League.
“They have to go back home this week as soon as they finalise their doctor’s certificates. Then we’ll replace them straight away.”
Manly’s Pio Seci and Redcliffe’s Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu have both been reported as those who will return Down Under.
St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa has also failed to overcome a hamstring injury and will not play a part in this year’s World Cup.