SAPPORO, Japan (AFP) – Wallaby wing Marika Koroibete knows there will be divided loyalties among his family and friends when he plays for Australia against his native Fiji in the teams’ World Cup opener in Sapporo tomorrow.
Koroibete played alongside Fiji flyer Semi Radradra in the Pacific island nation’s team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
But after changing codes three years ago, Koroibete made his Australia debut in 2017 and has since won 24 caps for the Wallabies.
“I am obviously looking forward to it,” Koroibete told reporters at Australia’s hotel in Sapporo yesterday after coach Michael Cheika named his team to play Fiji.
“Australia gave me an opportunity to pursue my dream and they have given me a lot. It will be a bit weird playing against Fiji but I will give everything,” he added.
“It will be hard for my family back home to (pick) which team to cheer for, but there will be some cheering for me on the weekend.
“My family, they cheer for Australia and obviously my friends will cheer for Fiji and after that will cheer for Australia.”
Despite being mainly deployed as a centre in French club rugby, Fiji coach John McKee has picked Radradra on the wing – where he won a cap as an Australia rugby league international in 2016.
Australia’s Reece Hodge appears set to have the tricky task of marking Radradra, who played rugby league for Sydney’s Parramatta Eels.