It was just five years ago that Fiji dished out one of the biggest upsets in Rugby League World Cup history, and now, New Zealand will have a chance to avenge that loss in the third quarter-final at the 2022 edition of the tournament in England.
Zero Tackle will be covering the game live from 6:30am (AEDT) on Sunday morning.
Fiji's narrow win over New Zealand in Wellington during the 2017 tournament was one of the biggest upsets in international rugby league history, but Fiji will need to improve again to outclass one of the best Kiwi sides ever named.
New Zealand come into the game unbeaten through the tournament to date, while Fiji have otherwise been excellent with a pair of wins since their first loss to Australia.
Refresh the page for live score and commentary updates from 6:30am (AEDT).
New Zealand 24 (Tries: Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora, Joseph Manu, Jordan Rapana; Conversions: Jordan Rapana 3/4; Penalty goal: Jordan Rapana 1/1) defeat Fiji 18 (Tries: Maika Sivo, Kevin Naiqama ; Conversions: Brandon Wakeham 3/3)
Well, just an unreal game of football. Plenty to unpack from that in the next 24 hours as New Zealand book their semi-final spot with Australia next weekend.
That captain's challenge will be analysed from every angle undoubtedly ahead of the penalty goal for Jordan Rapana.
Thanks for joining us here on Zero Tackle for this one, and be sure to tune in again tomorrow for Tonga and Samoa, with Jack Blyth back in the chair to take you through that one.
Rapana misses the conversion, but the Kiwis survive a thriller by six points.
What an incredible game of football that was.
The Kiwis right on the attack, and they are going to polish the game off with a try. Jordan Rapana crashes over in the corner, and the Kiwis are through to play Australia next week.
No, no, no! Wakeham. He has been so, so good tonight, but drops the ball cold off the scrum, so New Zealand survive.
The Kiwis work it away, just playing through the middle, before Hughes goes to the heavens with a bomb that is allowed to bounce and then dropped by Fiji.
A loose pass is knocked down off the scrum and Fiji have tackle zero. They are right on the attack here as they set up through the middle. Wong almost through with a short ball, then Koroisau out of dummy half but no dice. Wakeham a flat kick on the last, then New Zealand give up the ball with an accidental offside!
Another set coming up for Fiji. 4 minutes to play.
And here we go! Nicoll-Klokstad puts the ball down coming out of trouble, so Fiji have a full set from 30 metres out down 20 points to 18 with 5 and a half minutes to go.
Fiji on the attack. Can they find a try? Kikau sets it up on the fifth, and a Wakeham bomb to the corner on the last is taken by a flying Mulitalo.
Jordan Rapana will line up a penalty goal then from about 40 metres out and he sends it over.
Now it's the Kiwis' turn for a captain's challenge. Manu had made a break out of his own end there, but dropped it in the tackle, with Fiji then also knocking it on in the play. Double knock on the call, but Manu not happy with that ruling so we go upstairs.
Looks a cold drop to me. Manu will claim it's stripped, but there is certainly no stripping action.
And the ruling is that it's a strip, but I have to say I completely and utterly disagree with that.
Fiji with a long kick for touch and they start this set over halfway. The attack is a little stagnated early in the set, then Fiji come back to through the middle. Keeping it very centres here, but they haven't heard the last tackle call! They take a hit up in front of the posts and it'll be a Kiwi ball.
Fiji just struggling to stay in the game now. A Hughes bomb sees Sivo fly above the pack, but he drops it, and New Zealand will have another chance to attack.
Captain's challenge though with a possible push against the Kiwis. Hiku does appear to put his hands on Valemei who then makes contact with Sivo.
And yes. The push creates the knock on, so it'll be a penalty for Fiji, and didn't the Bati need that?
Rapana converts again, and we are all square with 16 minutes to go.
Fiji are going to have to do this the (very) hard way here. Right on the back foot as Wakeham has to clear with a kick yet again, and New Zealand are back over halfway on the third through Tapine.
A shift left now and Mulitalo has space, linking with Joey Manu back on the inside and he streaks away to score.
New Zealand again back onto the attack, and they have all the running here, but are still behind on the scoreboard. Manu goes close on the fifth play, before a kick right from Hughes sees Rapana hit it back, but straight into the path of Koroisau.
20 minutes to go here. New Zealand with a solid set, but they can't find a way to score at the end of it as Fiji slowly work their way back towards halfway. Wakeham kicks from inside 40 and Mulitalo almost makes a meal of that, but manages to throw a pass back in field to Manu.
The drop out to halfway and Kamikamica brings it back into the defence with a huge run. Nakubuwai with another big run on the next, then Valemei almost had space on the left but Rapana with a great tackle. Inside the ten are Fiji with two plays left after a run from Sims. Settler, then the last has the ball pinballing before Kikau eventually comes up with a grubber and New Zealand get on the football.
A HUGE moment right here! Fiji with a strong recovery set to get within ten of halfway, then Mulitalo drops a kick from Wakeham backwards and can't get back into control of the football with it beating him to the dead ball line.
Drop out for New Zealand.
Huge set right here with just a tick under 25 minutes to go. New Zealand get a set restart on the first, then Kenny Bromwich breaks a tackle, but drops it as the cover defence scramble to stop the veteran forward.
Ah deary me. Korbin Sims drops the ball on Tackle 1, and then Fiji add to the issue by giving away a penalty.
New Zealand really speeding up the pace of play, and the Bati are struggling to hang on. Back inside 20 with half the set to go, and now they bring it right with Joey Manu skipping to the outside, but eventually tackled by Turuva and Koroisau in desperation. Back to the left they go and Mulitalo is over. He claims the try, but Fiji's defence also claiming they have held him up.
Mulitalo has gone touch in goal if he hasn't got this ball to ground, and that is absolutely amazing defence from Wakeham! Wow. Stuff like that wins games of rugby league.
New Zealand starting to get on top of the contest here. A great set and Turuva is pinned a metre out from his own goalline. Some really tough stuff coming up for Fiji here, with Tackle 3 still inside their own ten-metre zone. Wakeham eventually has to kick from inside his own 20 and Mulitalo brings it back to over halfway.
Fiji working it out of their own end now, but some of that energy they had immediately after the break seems to have gone out of the game a little bit. A real struggle for metres before Turuva goes close to halfway, then Wakeham kicks long and high, with Mulitalo to bring it back.
New Zealand starting to roll here in this set after points. Back over halfway, and Hughes is only stopped down the right-hand side by a vicious tackle from Kikau. Bomb on the last and Sivo takes this.
Rapana sends the conversion over, so with half an hour to go it's a six-point game again.
Here come the Kiwis. Manu dangerous on the left as they move inside 10, but he is pulled down. Asofa-Solomona close as well back through the middle and he is held, before Nikora goes right on the next. He appeared to be held, but the Cronulla edge forward manages to break through the tackle after a defender dropped off and he is over to score.
Valemei dropped off the tackle seemingly after a call from Koroisau to go for the strip. Absolute madness.
Just over half an hour to play and you'd be starting to get a bit nervous here if you were Michael Maguire and his staff. New Zealand back over halfway, then they win a penalty.
A strong set after points from Fiji. Up to halfway, Wakeham kicks downtown and Manu brings it back into a strong set defensive line.
Wakeham arrows over another one from out wide!
FIJI! Kevin Naiqama is over again! The Bati are over to start the second half. They head to the right hand side, and after a half raid, it's Kevin Naiqama continuing down the short side, eventually reaching out to score.
Video referee called in to check the grounding, but he has planted the ball on the line.
New Zealand clunky here, and they put the ball down not long after getting it back, with Rapana spilling it in a three-man tackle.
Right then, away we go for the second stanza in Hull. New Zealand with a big start to the half as well as they come over halfway on the fourth. Hughes kicks on the last with a bomb and Sivo will take that under pressure.
Teams are back for the second half. Fiji to kick-off.
Fiji hang on! A shift from the Kiwis, but Naiqama pulls down Mulitalo who had gone through the line.
So then, that will be halftime. New Zealand came into this tournament with potentially the best squad they have ever named, but Fiji have played what is likely to be their best half of football in the nation's history to take a 12-6 lead into the sheds.
They look shattered and desperately needed the break, but New Zealand - the demons of 2017 are alive and well as Fiji head to the break with the lead.
Be sure to stick around, and we will be back in 15 minutes for the second half.
Time winding down and Fiji desperate for halftime. A six again will help them here, as will a shift right that puts Naiqama through the line, and he goes inside 20 with two plays left. Back to the middle as they set up, then short side on the last as they go through the hands, but New Zealand will come up with it on a loose ball.
New Zealand's creative weapons have really struggled to inject themselves into the game tonight, but might have a chance here with a pass knocked down and six tackles from 20 metres out. Kenny Bromwich and Liu have a go on the first couple, then a short ball from Hughes to Nikora but he is stopped well, before Papali'i is dragged down too. Final play, and it's Brown with a kick looking for Mulitalo. He hits it back into the field of play, the ball pinballs and a tackle is made, so Fiji survive.
Five minutes to go until halftime then and Fiji still holding the lead by 12 points to 6 here. The Bati struggling out of their own end, then Turuva grabs 20 metres with a monster carry that bends the line, before a shift left on the lass sees Kikau put the ball down. Ruins a three-on-two that they had on the left.
Now Fiji pushing hard in defence. Really muscling up on the Kiwis who appear to get away with a forward pass coming out of their own end. Early kick out of dummy half from Brandon Smith looking for a 40/20, but Turuva will bring it back.
Fiji with a strong set here to take some of the immense pressure they have been felling off. Koroisau bombs from 30 out on the last and Manu takes it, but is tackled immediately.
Fiji starting to desperately look like they need halftime here. New Zealand on the attack, and not much happening in the first three plays, but then the wind up to the right-hand side, with Manu dangerous but eventually tackled. Tapine on the next and he drops it over the tryline! What an excellent tackle from Josh Wong.
Big problems now for Fiji. They manage to get through a defensive set, but then Turuva is dragged backwards, drops the ball and New Zealand have a full set right on the attack here.
Fiji certainly starting to fatigue, but hanging in the fight for now. Koroisau will kick a tackle early, and Manu brings it back into a set chase.
It was all handbags at ten paces, so no penalty or anything else, so Fiji will have a scrum to bring it out of their own end here with ten minutes to play before halftime.
A great set after points from the Kiwis then, and not such a good set from Fiji. The Kiwis are starting to dominate here, and a great attack on the kick return is only stopped 20 metres out by Turuva, before Joseph Manu puts the ball down on the next play.
And now! Joseph Tapine! Someone has said something, because there was push and shove and maybe some more there. Turuva involved against Tapine.
Jordan Rapana manages to convert from out wide.
Off the scrum! New Zealand are in with a sweep to the left-hand side. They had set to go right, but switch last minute, some lovely passes out to the wing and Ronaldo Mulitalo will score untouched in the corner.
Fiji with a strong set to get out of their own end, then New Zealand come back onto the attack. Brown bombs on the last, but Fiji knock it on, so it'll be another full set here for the Kiwis.
Right then, here come the Kiwis again. Looking dangerous, but Fiji holding their own throughout the set. They stop Tapine on the fifth by four defenders, but Fiji will need to scramble, and they do. Great pressure on Hughes, a rushed kick and Sunia Turuva, who has been the best on ground so far, comes across to grab this.
It would be fair to say New Zealand need to get things turned around in a hurry here. Fiji's pack is holding their own, and they have been the more disciplined team thus far.
Another strong set after points, and Wakeham kicks from halfway down to Manu who runs back into a strong kick chase, but this stings for Fiji as they give away a penalty to piggyback the Kiwis out of their own end.
Brandon Wakeham converts again.
Fiji! They are over again! New Zealand's defence just folds in half here as the Bati come to the right, and it's a lovely pass on for Kevin Naiqama who bursts through to score. What a lovely pass that was from Sunia Turuva, and a beautiful line run from Naiqama.
Well, that could have turned the game there with Fiji turning it over coming out of trouble, but then the Kiwis give away a penalty! It's an obstruction after Asofa-Solomona had three men on his outside, but decided to run back in behind Brandon Smith instead.
An absolute horror show that for the Kiwis.
Well, New Zealand will have to come from behind here against the Bati with a quarter of an hour gone, and at what point do the demons of 2017 start to circle?
They are back to halfway on the third here are the Kiwis, then Tapine takes a strong run through the middle as he did so often for the Raiders this season. Last play from 25 out, Hughes goes to the sky and Sivo does a great job under that.
A really strong set after points here for Fiji. Back to halfway, then Wakeham puts the kick out in the corner.
Brandon Wakeham converts from out wide! He has 13 in a row at the tournament.
New Zealand's discipline early doors here is an absolute horror show. Tackle count reset for Fiji as they bring it out of trouble, and that means they will take Tackle 2 of the new set on halfway. Fiji inside 20 on the last, then they swing it left and will have the first try! Kikau with a bit of space, he swings it out to Maika Sivo, and the brutal winger just smokes the defenders in front of him to score in the corner!
A strong set from the Kiwis as they pour on up field, ending up inside 20. Hughes stabs a kick through, and Wakeham is there to save the day for the Bati with an excellent take at about hip height.
Fiji now looking to just get some control back, but going nowhere, so Wakeham goes the early kick, looking for a 40/20. Can't find it, but certainly had Mulitalo scrambling backwards to take that over his shoulder.
Fiji were very average through the group stage when it came to holding onto the ball, and haven't started this quarter-final in much better fashion. Will need to tidy that up if they hope to go with the Kiwis.
New Zealand then working it back past halfway on the third, then an early grubber from Jahrome Hughes is deflected off legs through the line, and Fiji do manage to come up with it.
A long touch finder for the Bati, and they are on the attack, but Koroisau drops a pass on the left hand side. New Zealand looking to go on the counter, but Jahrome Hughes, after toeing it ahead, can't come up with it, so we will go back to the initial error and a Kiwi scrum 20 metres out from their own line.
Fiji now have it, but will spend this set coming out of trouble, and almost cause more trouble for themselves, having to surrender to avoid an obstruction. They get away with that, but then the Kiwis give away a piggyback penalty.
New Zealand making the most of this set then, working back onto the attack. They come to 20 out before Jahrome Hughes puts the bomb up. Dylan Brown chases through to put the pressure on Turuva this time, but knocks it on.
Right then, fourth minute and Fiji are going to have the first attacking chance off this penalty. Up the middle, then left with a Kikau offload creating a brief flicker of opportunity. They set up to go back to the left on the last and a Koroisau grubber was dangerous, but just takes an unfriendly roll and goes touch in goal, so the Kiwis survive.
A good set here from the Kiwis, but Turuva is able to handle the kick in the corner on the last under pressure from the chasing Manu. Fiji then win a penalty to come out of their own end.
Away we go in Hull! Jordan Rapana kicks off down to the corner and it'll be the big bustling Tui Kamikamica with the first run of the game. The Bati work it away through their opening set and are over halfway on the fourth through Turuva, so a good start here. Wakeham will provide the kick down to the corner, and it's Mulitalo to bring it back.
A bit of a delay here as everybody sets up to start the game in the wrong direction. Fiji have to run 100 metres in the other direction, and Jordan Rapana turns around to kick-off the other way.
How good. The hymn, followed by the haka. Spine tingling stuff ahead of kick-off as the Kiwis and Bati try to book a semi-final date with the Kangaroos next week.
Anthems done. Time for the haka and hymn before kick-off.
Teams are on their way out for this one here in Hull.
So then, New Zealand have confirmed that Peta Hiku and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will line up in the centres in what is really one of the only contentious areas of their best 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona also starts in the second row, which will leave the dangerous Isaiah Papali'i on the bench, while Kieran Foran wins the utility spot, with Scott Sorensen the 18th man.
Fiji have Apisai Koroisau in the halves again, with Penioni Tagituimua to play at dummy half. No other real surprises for the Bati.
Here are the final teams for this one.
1. Joseph Manu 5. Jordan Rapana 4. Peta Hiku 21. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. James Fisher-Harris 12. Kenny Bromwich 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 13. Joseph Tapine
Interchange: 11. Isaiah Papali'i 14. Kieran Foran 17. Briton Nikora 20. Isaac Liu
18th man: 23. Scott Sorensen
1. Sunia Turuva 24. Vuate Karawalevu 4. Kevin Naiqama 19. Semi Valemei 2. Maika Sivo 9. Apisai Koroisau 7. Brandon Wakeham 3. Korbin Sims 14. Penioni Tagituimua 13. Tui Kamikamica 22. Siua Wong 12. Viliame Kikau 11. Taniela Sadrugu
Interchange: 20. Henry Raiwalui 16. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave 10. Ben Nakubuwai 17. King Vuniyayawa
18th man: 5. Mitieli Vulikijapani
Hello and welcome to Zero Tackle for our live coverage of the third quarter-final at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup, with New Zealand out to seek revenge for the 2017 loss to Fiji.
The Kiwis come into the game as heavy favourites, but they did exactly the same last time around.
The teams have been confirmed, so we will have them for you shortly in the lead up to kick-off, which is 45 minutes away.
Scott, that was a GREAT piece of writing. Kept my heart in my mouth (or something) all the way through.
And that game seemed to be the best of the Cup, so far. The first genuine, close game.
Thanks very much Harry – a great game indeed. Absolute thriller. Easy to get excited by!
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