Kiwis fighting for RLWC survival

Nov 17, 2017 - 5:24 AM The Kiwis will be fighting for Rugby League World Cup survival when they meet Fiji in Saturday's do-or-die quarter-final in Wellington, with skipper Adam Blair saying jobs are on the line.

A second-half slip-up against Tonga last week meant the New Zealanders squandered a 16-2 halftime lead as Mate Ma'a roared to an 28-22 upset pool play win in Hamilton.

As a result, Blair says jobs are at stake in Saturday's quarter-final against the second-tier Fijians - and not only coach David Kidwell's.

"It's a tough industry, jobs are on the line - we see that all the time with the football we play," he said.

"We've got to go out there and do our jobs - knuckle down, do our country and everyone proud.

"Everything's on the line, not only everyone's job but our positions in this team. It's important that we go out there and do everything possible, wear that jersey with pride."

Despite that pressure, he's confident the Kiwis can refocus against a Fijian team that was unbeaten in pool play and has scored 32 tries across three matches.

Discipline has been a particular emphasis this week, after the New Zealanders conceded four second-half tries in a 15-minute spell against Tonga.

Their first-half completion rate dropped from 83 per cent to 68 per cent in the second stanza, and Blair says there's no doubt they'll have to do better if they want to beat the in-form Fijians.

"We'd been really good, but then we came up against a Tongan side and we let ourselves down in that area."

Blair says Fiji threaten right across the park, with a talented back five and an impressive array of big hard-running forwards.

"They're an entertaining team without a doubt - they've got some skilled outside backs, and they've got some forwards that when they have momentum, the guys outside can feed off that and play a great brand of footy.

"It's important that we execute our plays, it's important that we be disciplined and work together as a group, it's important we don't do anything individual, that we don't get frustrated.

"For us, it's making sure we do things better than we did last week."

Source: AAP

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