New Roo bound for Cup success
PARRAMATTA star Jarryd Hayne is one of nine survivors from the Fijian team that was demolished 52-0 by Australia in the 2008 World Cup semi-final.
Tomorrow morning at Wembley, however, the boot will be on the other foot when Hayne lines up for the Kangaroos against his former teammates - Wes Naiqama, Daryl Millard, Akuila Uate, Alipate Noilea, Aaron Groom, Ashton Sims, Jayson Bukuya and James Storer - for a place in next weekend's final.
Those eight players are not the only ones in the Fijian team who have played in a World Cup semi-final.
Petero Civoniceva wore an Australian jersey five years ago, but deferred his retirement just long enough to captain Fiji in one last campaign.
Hayne, who played against the Bati in the group games and scored four tries for the Kangaroos in the 62-0 quarter-final win against the US last weekend to cement his spot in the centres, said he would have mixed feelings coming up against the country he represented in 2008 in such a cut-throat match.
"I played them two weeks ago and it is very emotional," he said. "It's exciting for them and for me. It is great for them to have made it so far and I am pleased for them because I have got a lot of friends there.'
Australia goes into the match as a short-priced favourite, having scored 174 points and let in just 22 - all of those in the opening group match against England - in its four games, while Fiji has been outscored 86-68.
The key for the Fijians is their speedy backs, with Uate, Marika Koroibete and Kevin Naiqama combining for an incredible 558m in last weekend's 22-4 quarter-final win overt Samoa.
Kangaroos team (two to drop out): Cameron Smith (c), Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cooper Cronk, Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matthew Scott, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.
DEFENDING champion New Zealand takes on England in the other semi-final, which is also being played at Wembley, immediately before the Australia-Fiji match.
England back-rower Sean O'Loughlin said he believed the fact that 17 of the host country's squad of 23 had played at the venue, coupled with the home crowd support, could give England a slight advantage.
But that view was rejected by Kiwis manager Tony Iro, who played in two Challenge Cup finals at the old Wembley Stadium in the 1980s.
"This Wembley, to me, feels like the Olympic Stadium (in Sydney)," Iro said.
"It will build its own history, but at the moment it feels like another big stadium.
"It's a great stadium, but I don't really have any fears for the players being overwhelmed by the occasion."