By Liam Williams, Date: 22/11/13
Australia’s Jarryd Hayne is expecting another emotional encounter when the Kangaroos take on Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Big Hit semi-final at Wembley on Saturday (3.30pm).
Hayne, who represented Fiji in the 2008 World Cup, is proud of his former teammates for reaching the tournament’s last four and is relishing the chance to play The Bati again after his four quarter-final tries helped Australia overcome the USA in the last round.
“I played them two weeks ago and it is very emotional,” said Hayne. “It is 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.
“I was with one of the boys yesterday and we caught up for a little bit. The World Cup is such a fun tour, a lot of things happen behind the scenes that people don’t see. There is a lot of camaraderie and team bonding, it is awesome.
“Fiji have been very solid with the way they have been playing and their structures. That first half against England was awesome, and but for a couple of rough calls they would have been in a better position.
“The USA were tough. Scorelines don’t always emulate the whole game and in that first half there was a time when they were attacking our line. If you look at our tries, they weren’t tries from their 20 metre line, they were from long range when we found a weakness in their defence.
“From a defensive point of view they were testing us and they came close a couple of times but it wasn’t to be. They definitely gave us a run for our money.”
Hayne, who had made two appearances on the wing, was happy to play at centre in the Kangaroos’ last match but the versatile back does not expect to deputise at full-back should Billy Slater, who left the field injured in the tie, not recover in time to make the trip to Wembley.
“Greg Inglis went there when Billy had to go off so I am sure that is a good indicator,” said Hayne. “I wouldn’t expect to play there.
“It is good at centre though, I am comfortable out there. It is a right hand carry and right foot step so it is my preferred side.
“Me and Tim Sheens had been talking about it since the start and when I got named for the USA game he said that this was my chance to play on the right edge. I played there when I was growing up so I guess it is lucky that with the centres we have got in the squad, I am the only right-side centre.
“Last time I scored four tries I was 18 I think, so it is been a while. It was a pretty special feeling doing it for Australia.”
Tickets for the Rugby League World Cup Big Hit semi-final at Wembley on Saturday (3.30pm) are still available from as little as £20 for adults and £10 for concessions. To purchase your tickets, please either visit www.eticketing.co.uk/rlwc or call our 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 08448472013.
Australian team to take on Fiji
Cameron Smith (C)