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Rugby League World Cup 2017
The 2017 Rugby League World Cup is the fifteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup. Held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea between 27 October and 2 December 2017
FIJI have suffered a huge blow on the eve of the Rugby League World Cup with experienced forward Korbin Sims ruled out of the tournament.
Sims had been named to play in the back row for the Bati in their opening game against USA on Saturday night in Townsville.
But instead, he’ll watch from the sidelines after medical staff deemed his arm — which was broken while playing for Brisbane in round 25 — had not healed quick enough.
“His broken arm hasn’t healed quick enough,” Potter told foxsports.com.au.
“The thought there was enough time to heal since he injured it playing for the Broncos but he went to the surgeon and he said it’s not good enough.”
Potter is yet to make a call on who replaced Sims in the team but has scheduled a meeting with his coaching staff for Thursday night to make that decision.
Potter did say they’ll opt for a young replacement from the NSW Cup or 20s competition to “get some experience” around the squad.
It’s a massive blow to the Bati’s preparations after the team arrived in Townsville ahead of Saturday’s game.
“He’s a big part of what we have here,” Potter said.“He’s an experienced player. We’ll miss him. He’ll be a hard one to replace.”
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Fiji’s first foray into rugby league only began in the early 1990s, but the South Pacific nation has appeared at every World Cup since 1995. In three of those campaigns (1995, 2000 2013) they were pooled with Australia and England, which certainly wasn’t a favourable draw, but that didn’t stop the Bati from asking the rugby league world whether the big three was now the big four at the end of the 2013 RLWC.
The sport has enjoyed a period of sustained growth on the back of their world cup semi-final appearances. Fiji National Rugby League are now hoping to replicate the success story of the Papua New Guinea Hunters by entering a Fijian team based out of Suva into the NSW Cup.
Since their 2013 RLWC semi-final defeat to the Kangaroos, Fiji has played Test matches against Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa and Lebanon at season’s end or during the annual Pacific tests, and their only two defeats were two-point losses in tight contests against Tonga and Papua New Guinea over the last two years. They go into this World Cup campaign ranked seventh in the world, and Mick Potter is set to unleash an attacking arsenal thanks to a potent backline, which includes the return of Jarryd Hayne.