Australia v Fiji: preview

by staff

The Wallabies open their World Cup campaign tonight against Fiji, let's take a closer look at the two sides' chances in the Cardiff match.


Last five: WLWWW

Why they will win: They’re the favourite, they're coming into the game fresh. The attack-heavy style they're playing under coach Michael Cheika has seen quick benefits with the Wallabies' first Rugby Championship since 2011. Their execution and structure should be stronger than Fiji's and that will make it difficult for the Flying Fijians to cause an upset.

Why they won’t: It’s been more than a month since the Wallabies have played a full-strength side, with only four players in the starting side that started in the Test against the USA. They’ve also had to wait almost a week to start their campaign. Lots would have to go wrong for the Wallabies to lose to Fiji but stranger things have happened.

What they said:

“They were very physical and their scrum was a bit of a surprise for a few people. I think that has been building over the last couple of years. They have got very dangerous backs and in Ben Volavola they have someone who can control the game very well.” - Wallabies assistant, Stephen Larkham.


Last five: LWWWD

Why they will win: Well, if a result was a foregone conclusion, why would they bother playing the game? Fiji flyhalf Ben Volavola said his side drew plenty of confidence from the upset that Japan sprung on South Africa on the second night of matches and they were pretty happy with their game against England. They’ve played a game of the tournament and know what let them down and what worked well.

Why they won’t win: Fiji have improved in plenty of key areas and showed that against England, particularly in their scrums, but there’s still a bit to do. They showed they can compete against a top tier nation but causing a Japan-esque upset will take more than that.

What they said: "Australia play a very dynamic high-speed game which will maybe suit us better (than England’s). They have made progress under Michael Cheika, have great line speed and a rush defence. They are very physical too." - Fiji coach, John McKee

Head to head: Wallabies 16, Fiji 2, Draw 1


Australia has lost just one of their World Cup openers since 1987 - against South Africa in 1995.

The Wallabies have met Fiji just once before in a World Cup - in 2007 in Montpellier.

Two of the Wallabies in the World Cup squad (Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani) were born in Fiji, while Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola and loosehead prop Campese Ma’afu were born in Australia.