By Liam Williams, Date: 22/11/13
Fiji head coach Rick Stone has named his 19 man squad to play Australia at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (15:30).
Fiji’s James Storer is set to walk out onto the field of one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues on Saturday, a million miles away from his day-job as a coal miner in his homeland, when The Bati take on Australia in the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Big Hit semi-final at Wembley (3.30pm).
A former NRL player, Storer quit Rugby League in 2008, and says it is unbelievable that he is set to play in another World Cup semi-final.
“Just to be playing alongside the likes of Petero Civoniceva is big enough for me so to step onto the pitch at Wembley is massive,” said Storer.
“I don’t even play footy much anymore. I am playing for the local team back home but I was fit enough and lucky enough to play well in the trial to come out here. It is unbelievable, it is a great feeling.”
“I think this is just stepping stone. To be consistent in these World Cups and to get to these semi-finals is a big step. Rugby League has only been going for 16 years in Fiji, so it is a big positive for us.”
“Last time the World Cup was in Australia, so we were closer to home. This is a long way away from home.
“I don’t mind it. You are in with the boys and they make it fun. You miss your family a little bit though.But to be here doing this, not only for our families, but for Fiji, is the best feeling in the world. Nothing comes close to it.
“I do appreciate it more this time. We have got a stronger team this year and there is so much more talent coming through Fiji.
Despite also making the semi-finals in 2008, Fiji came into the tournament ranked seventh in the world, but Storer believes that having made the last four again is an indication that the side is better than their ranking suggests.
“The only time we have ever had our full squad is in the World Cup tournaments,” said Storer.
“When we have lost our ranking it is because we have had injuries or clubs wouldn’t release their players, so it goes to show that when we do have our full strength squad we are right up there.
“We will approach Australia the same way we approach everything else. We are a very spiritual team and one of the biggest things I have learned on this tour is that worrying is a sin and that is something I have been holding onto. We are not worrying, we will prepare as best we can and give it everything we can.
“We have been blessed with our group to be drawn with Australia and England. Playing those sides early is exactly what we needed before we played Samoa.
“Samoa are a very good team. They are very strong with a lot of NRL players, so we were lucky to play those hard teams first. We set our benchmark early. We didn’t have any easy wins and that has prepared us well for this stage.”
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.
Fiji name team to take on Australia
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