Topic: Rugby League World Cup

Blair determined to stay in the World Cup

By Eru Paranihi
  • Wellington

Kiwis Captain Adam Blair is determined not to repeat a tier-two nation upset when their side takes on the Fiji Bati in their quarter-final encounter in Wellington.

Fiji has named what is their strongest side of the tournament so far.

It was a focused Adam Blair who addressed today's media ahead of their quarter-final match against Fiji.

“It's do or die now. We're happy that we're in the quarters, but we've got a job to do now,” says Blair.  

The Fijians ran out on to Wellington Regional stadium for the first time today, and sense another upset against the Kiwis.

Fiji Bati captain Kevin Naiqama says, “We have got a really strong side as I feel like this is the strongest side we've fielded for Fiji in our past couple of outings.”

In their last encounter, the Kiwis went to sleep in the second half against Tonga, surrendering a 16 -2 halftime lead. Much of the Fijian threat lies in their backline which boasts names like top try scorer Suliasi Vunivalu, Taane Milne and former NFL convert Jarryd Hayne.

Kiwi enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves says, “They're gonna be tough no matter what, so I think for us it's focusing on those little key areas with the pressure in defence.”

Says Blair, “It's important that we stick to what we do if we do have a lead.”

Despite their Pool B setback in Hamilton, which will see them in a showdown with the Kangaroos earlier than expected, morale is still high in the Kiwis camp.

“It's boosting, the boys are happy. Obviously [we're] disappointed with the results, but what's been done is done. We've moved on pretty quickly,” says Blair.  

Its crunch time for these sides with the winner securing a trip to Brisbane next week. A loss here for the Kiwis will mean they are out.