The Fiji coach Matt Adamson has set his team the task of beating a “vulnerable” Australia to win the next Rugby League World Cup, claiming there’s no reason why the Pacific Nation can’t do it.
Adamson will lead Fiji on an interim basis for the first time in Saturday night’s Pacific Test against Papua New Guinea, before he hopes to be appointed as the full-time replacement for Michael Potter is named in July.
The former NSW State of Origin utility has outlined a growth plan to be implemented across the island nation, which would include him moving to Fiji to oversee teenage development and fast-tracking players into the NRL.
The 45-year-old believes he has already identified a number of players in key positions who can form part of the 2021 campaign.
And when combined with the likes of Suliasi Vunivalu, Api Koroisau, Jarryd Hayne and Viliame Kikau who helped the Bati beat New Zealand to reach a third straight semi-final last year, he insists the World Cup is winnable.
“100 per cent (we can win the World Cup). We’re not here to come second,” Adamson said.
“The facts are they beat New Zealand, and have met Australia twice now in the past two World Cups and been beaten.
“So there is a real mental barrier there. But as I will say to the boys this week as they go into camp, Australia are going through a massive transitional period.
“They’ve lost 150 games of experience, maybe more over the next 12 months. So come 2021 the Australian rugby league team is going to look very different and vulnerable.”
Adamson has spent four weekends in the past six travelling across Fiji looking at the country’s next generation of talent.
But when reminded that no team other than Australia, Great Britain or New Zealand had taken the title, Adamson was adamant that this wasn’t just a pie-in- the-sky statement from the tier-two team.
“People just think Australia will win the World Cup, so they’ll keep winning the World Cup. It can’t be like that,” he said.
“Someone has got to have a greater vision to not think that way.
“We’ve got young forwards in that 22-year-old age bracket that come 2021 are going to be 26 when they run out there and maturity for forwards is a key component.
“All our outside backs are in their early twenties.
“I’ve identified two good halfbacks, a young hooker and an outstanding fullback in Fiji that in four years time will 23 or 24 years old with two years experience in reserve grade or NRL.”