Though it’s the availability of former Kangaroos star Petero Civoneciva that’s grabbed headlines ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013, centre Daryl Millard believes that it’s the Fiji’s home-grown players who will have the most important role to play at the tournament.
The Bati reached the semi-finals of the 2008 tournament, with a comfortable victory over France, followed by a win over Ireland enough to secure their passage into the last four, where they were eliminated from the competition by Australia.
Civoniceva played for the hosts that day, but in 2013 will line up for his native Fiji, who, as fate would have it, have been drawn alongside the Kangaroos in Group A.
“It’s a massive boost for us and awesome news for all of the boys involved in the Fiji set-up to have somebody like Civoniceva on board,” Millard told LoveRugbyLeague.com.
“He’ll bring a lot of experience and I’m pretty sure he’ll be in great shape too. He’ll be a tremendous asset to us throughout the tournament.”
But, though Catalan Dragons star Millard is the only Super League player to make himself available for Fiji ahead of RLWC2013, he is confident the side will be able to call on talent from the NRL and domestic competition.
“There are a lot of talented players in Fiji, particularly in the backs division, and it’s very important to us that we have that representation.
“If we go well again it’ll be a big thing, and it’s important that home-grown players are a part of any success we enjoy.
“They were a big part of the reason we went well last time. It’s solidarity. You’re only good as a team, it doesn’t matter how many superstars you have.”
“It’s a great opportunity for some of the Fijian boys,” he added.
“There are more than a few that are good enough to play at a high level, there’s just so much raw talent.”
Fiji face Ireland at Spotland in Rochdale on October 28, they travel to Langtree Park in St Helens for a rematch with Australia on November 2, before their group campaign culminates with a showdown against England at the KC Stadium in Hull on November 9.
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