Fiji Bati vs Cook Islands Aitu Tips
It will be another iconic Sunday for rugby league when the Fiji take on the Cook Islands at Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.
It has been an age since these two nations met in an international rugby league event and it is set to explode with excitement and culture all around the stadium.
On the field, it is always going to be a spectacular affair for Fiji at least, whose scintillating backline can match any team’s in the Pacific Championships. Tiger’s rookie Jahream Bula headlines a star-studded backline of Maika Sivo, Waqa Blake, Sunia Turuva and Mikaele Ravalawa. This 5-man wrecking ball is going to cause major problems for the Cook Islands running at them for a whole 80 minutes.
I expect Fiji to cover the 23.5 point line, easily outsourcing the Aitu by four converted tries. Take your pick of all five backline stars to score a try but the best value for me is Sunia Turuva at 1.97.
With tries coming left right and centre for Fiji, I am also going to back the over 53.5 point match total with the Bati covering most if not all of it.
- Fiji lost to NZ by just 6 points in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.
- The Cook Islands conceded 7 tries to PNG’s back-5 last Sunday.
- The Cook Islands lost to PNG by 36 points last weekend.
- The Cook Islands match against PNG had a game total of 56 points.
Head to Head
Fiji and the Cook Islands have not played each other in international rugby league since almost 14 years ago to the day.
On October 24, 2009, the Cook Islands def Fiji 24-22.
Fiji put in a stunning performance at the 2022 World Cup, losing out to New Zealand in a nailbiting affair 24-18 in the quarterfinals.
The Bati had a 12-point lead twice in the match, the latest just after halftime, but the Kiwis managed to claw their way back with 3 late tries and knocked Fiji out of the tournament in heartbreaking fashion.
Fiji Team News
Jahream Bula assumes the fullback position for Fiji, marking an astonishing ascent for the talented Wests Tigers youngster this season.
He'll be part of an attacking backline, which also includes Maika Sivo and Sunia Turuva, the NRL's Rookie of the Year. Penrith's standout performer will play in the centres alongside Waqa Blake, while Mikaele Ravalawa completes the backline.
Tui Kamikamica takes the reins as the team's captain in the forward line, leading a relatively inexperienced pack. Noah Nailagoliva is set to take on the role of hooker, despite initially being listed as No.14. Meanwhile, Gordon Whippy, a prop from the Ipswich Jets, will make his debut.
Taane Milne will take his place on the wing, and Kurt Donoghoe, a hooker from the Dolphins, has been selected at five-eighth.
Fiji Team List
1. Jahream Bula
2. Maika Sivo
3. Sunia Turuva
4. Waqa Blake
5. Mikaele Ravalawa
6. Kurt Donoghoe
7. Brandon Wakeham
8. Tui Kamikamica
14. Noah Nailagoliva
16. Gordon Whippy
11. Kitione Kautoga
13. Taane Milne
15. Caleb Navale
9. Penioni Tagituimua
12. Apisalome Saukuru
17. Watisoni Waqanisaravi
20. Sirilo Lovokuro
21. Pio Seci
Cook Islands Form
The PNG Kumuls tore shreds into the Cook Islands last weekend, scoring 9 tries to 2 in the Auitu 46-10 loss.
The stats really tell the story with PNG gaining possession 59% of the time with 41 sets to just 29.
The Aitu ran for just under 600 metres less than the Kumuls and had just 1 linebreak to PNG’s 9.
Cook Islands Team News
Tevin Arona endured a facial fracture just one minute into Cook Islands' defeat against PNG. To fill his spot in the halves, Esan Marsters steps in, while Alvin Maungatti is called upon to take over for the seasoned player in the centres.
In the meantime, William Samuel gets the nod to start at prop, stepping in for Makahesi Makatoa, who is dealing with a suspected pectoral injury.
Takai Mokohar, initially designated as the 18th man against the Kumuls, has now been included on the bench.
Cook Islands Team List
1. Esam Ioka
2. Malachi Morgan
3. Kayal Iro
4. Alvin Maungatti
5. Steven Marsters
6. Brad Takairangi
7. Esan Marsters
8. Davvy Moale
9. Rua Ngatikaura
10. William Samuel
11. Zane Tetevano
12. Ruben Porter
13. Pride Petterson-Robati
14. Kadiyae Ioka
15. Rhys Dakin
16. Justin Makirere
17. Takai Mokohar
18. Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano
19. Lucky Pokipoki