Wales Head coach John Kear has been forced to make three changes to his side that ahead of this weekend’s crucial World Cup match against Fiji in Townsville.
Following on from their opening round 50-6 defeat by PNG, which Kear described the performance as playing like ‘rank outsiders’ and with only one team qualifying from groups C & D, the Dragons must win this game against a very strong Fijian side that blew the USA apart 58-12 in their opening game.
Wales will be without Halifax forward Chester Butler due to concussion rules, while prop forward Sam Hopkins and half back Matt Seamark picked up injuries at the weekend. For Seamark it means missing the chance to play International rugby in the town he was born.
Coming into the squad for the missing trio is Danny Ansell, Joe Burke and Rochdale Hornets forward Gavin Bennion who only joined the squad early this week.
For the Balti (Fiji) they have lost prop forward Kane Evans for the tournament after it was confirmed he broke his wrist in the act of scoring his try against the USA. The 25 year old hard man, who will link up with Parramatta for the 2018 NRL season will be replaced by former Roosters team mate Eloni Vunakece in the starting line-up.
The match will be referred by Chris Kendall from England.
Fiji: Kevin Naiqama (capt), Suliasi Vunivalu, Taane Milne, Akuila Uate, Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne, Henry Raiwalui, Ashton Sims, Apisai Koroisau, Eloni Vunakece, Viliame Kikau, Brayden Wiliame, Tui Kamikamica, Joe Lovodua, Jacob Saifiti, Junior Roqica, Ben Nakubuwai, James Storer, Pio Seci, Salesi Faingaa, Sitiveni Moceidreke.
Wales: Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Michael Channing, Christiaan Roests, Regan Grace, Courtney Davies, Danny Ansell, Craig Kopczak (capt), Steve Parry, Philip Joseph, Rhodri Lloyd, Joe Burke, Morgan Knowles, Matty Fozard, Matthew Barron, Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Josh Ralph, Ben Morris, Gavin Bennion, Andrew Gay.