Rugby League World Cup: Chris Hill ready for the battle against Fiji
Warrington prop Chris Hill is confident England's pack can withstand the anticipated onslaught from Fiji's forwards.
Last Updated: 08/11/13 9:14am
The Fiji pack, led by the trio of Sims brothers - Korbin, Tariq and Ashton - got on top of Ireland in their opening game and caused plenty of problems for Australia but Hill says England's forwards are ready for the battle this Saturday.
"We're looking forward to it," he said. "We'll match whatever they give us down the middle.
"They can also play a bit of rugby so we have to be wary of their threats."
England's three-quarters have scored eight of the team's 11 tries so far in the tournament but it is up front where their strength lies.
Hill and Wigan's Lee Mossop, who were England's front-line props in 2012, have faced extra competition this year from the NRL in the shape of former St Helens captain James Graham and the Burgess brothers, Sam, Tom and George.
Hill has more than held his own so far and believes the intense competition has brought out the best in his game.
"There's a lot of competition, especially in the front row so it was a matter of getting in the 17 and trying to nail my place," he said.
"I managed to get in and keep my place so hopefully I'll do the same for the Fiji game.
"Even in camp, with the intensity we train at, there is competition for places. You have to impress and it makes you a better player."
Mossop is recalled in place of Tom Burgess for Saturday's game after missing the win over Ireland while Graham is relieved to have kept his spot after sitting out the opening game against Australia.
"There is a lot of competition," Graham said. "It's probably our strongest position.
"Obviously the two Burgess twins have really excelled this year and Chis Hill has had two outstanding years at Warrington. Throw Lee Mossop into the mix as well and there are some pretty good front rowers knocking around."
Leading the Fiji charge will be 37-year-old front-row Petero Civoniceva, the former Kangaroos ace who has rolled back the years during his swansong with the Pacific Islanders.
Civoniceva retired from the NRL at the end of 2012 but kept himself fit playing for his local club Redcliffe so that he would be in a position to lead the Bati in the World Cup and Graham, who has spent the last two seasons in Sydney with Canterbury Bulldogs, expects him to lead from the front.
"He's obviously one of the best front rowers of this generation, isn't he," Graham said. "I watched him play a couple of games for Redcliffe and he's still going strong in this tournament.
"It's going to be a tough ask against Fiji. With some of the other forwards they've got as well, we certainly won't be taking them lightly."