Former NRL stars Marika Koroibete (left) and Semi Radradra will face off against each other when the Wallabies play Fiji on Saturday.
Former NRL stars Marika Koroibete (left) and Semi Radradra will face off against each other when the Wallabies play Fiji on Saturday.

Marika v Semi: Wing wizards to clash in Wallabies opener

Update: It's the high-speed match up that two codes wanted to see and now it's officially on after try former NRL scoring machines Marika Koroibete and Semi Radradra were chosen to play against each other in Australia's World Cup opener against Fiji.

One of the Wallabies' most improved players this season, Koroibete was an automatic selection on the wing for Australia after scoring an eye-popping solo try against Samoa that makes him the X-factor the Wallabies need if they want to go deep in the tournament.

Radradra has mostly played at centre for Fiji but was named on the wing this weekend, though he will line up directly against Reece Hodge rather than his former team mate.

 

Former NRL stars Marika Koroibete (left) and Semi Radradra will face off against each other when the Wallabies play Fiji on Saturday.
Former NRL stars Marika Koroibete (left) and Semi Radradra will face off against each other when the Wallabies play Fiji on Saturday.

Six years ago, the pair were both on the Fijian team at the rugby league World Cup but did play against each other regularly in the NRL, when the "Semi trailer" was carving it up for the Parramatta Eels and Koroibete was doing the same for Melbourne Storm.

Radradra switched to union in 2017 and has scored three tries in six Tests for Fiji while Koroibete has notched nine five-pointers in his 24 appearances for the Wallabies but is getting better all the time and looks like being one of the breakout stars in Japan.

Their head-to-head clash is shaping as one of the must-see battles of the World Cup, which has traditionally showcased the very best that wingers have to offer, although Wallaby coach Michael Cheika didn't wasn't getting caught in the trap of singling out any of the Fijians.

"He's a fine player, obviously, but they've got a lot of other good players too," Cheika said. "We need to keep a close on everyone, we can't just worry about one player."

The Wallabies haven't lost a Test to Fiji since 1954 but the Pacific Islanders have got a spring in their step this time after assembling one of their best squads in years, with six survivors from the team that lost to Australia in the pool phase at the last World Cup as well as three players, Leone Nakarawa, Viliame Mata and Josua Tuisova, who won the gold medal in sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 

Fiji are the defending sevens Olympic champions.
Fiji are the defending sevens Olympic champions.

"We have picked the best team we can to play Australia. The players won their places through their training and form," Fiji coach John McKee said.

"We know Australia are a very good team and present a big challenge for us but, because of our preparation, I know that our team is mentally and physically ready for that challenge."

 

Fiji team to play Australia

 

1. Campese Ma'afu

2. Samuel Matavesi

3. Peni Ravai

4. Tevita Cavubati

5. Leone Nakawara

6. Dominiko Wawqaniburotu

7. Peceli Yato

8. Viliami Mata

9. Frank Lomani

10. Ben Volavola

11. Semi Radradra

12. Levani Botia

13. Waisea Nayacalevu

14. Josua Tuisova

15. Kini Murimurivalu

 

Reserves

 

16. Veremalua Vugakoto

17. Mosese Voka

18. Eroni Mawi

19. Nikola Matawalu

20. Manasa Saulo

21. Alivereti Veitokani

22. Tevita Ratuva

23. Vereniki Goneva

 

 

Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >

News Corp Australia


How high-flying real estate agent ended up behind bars

premium_icon How high-flying real estate agent ended up behind bars

The biggest case brought forward by the NSW Office of Fair Trading

Heartbreaking photo: Lucky the koala rescued from bushfire

Heartbreaking photo: Lucky the koala rescued from bushfire

Another successful positive story from our firefighters

Teenager's costly Schoolies mistake

premium_icon Teenager's costly Schoolies mistake

Teen driver visiting Byron was pulled over by police