Petero closes in on Raper's Roos record - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Petero closes in on Raper's Roos record

By Wayne Heming 15/10/2009 09:15:31 PM Comments (0)

Petero Civoniceva is one of the toughest men in rugby league.

But the giant Fijian admits he may shed a tear or two should he pass St George immortal John Raper as Australia's most capped forward on the upcoming Four Nations tour of the UK.

Civoniceva could break Raper's record of 39 Tests in the tournament final at Elland Road, Leeds - the scene of one of his toughest losses when the Kangaroos crashed 24-0 to New Zealand in the 2005 Tri Nations final.

Raper, the greatest lock forward to play the game and arguably rugby league's greatest ever defender, has held the record since the 1960s.

Civoniceva told AAP on eve of the team's UK departure it would be an emotional and proud moment if he was able to equal or better Raper's record.

"If it happened I'd definitely get a bit emotional about it," said the 33-year-old Panthers forward, who has overcome a foot injury to make the tour which Australia open against the Kiwis in London on Friday week.

"Some of my greatest football memories growing up as a kid were getting up early and sitting in the loungeroom of our Redcliffe house with my dad, Petero senior, and watching the great Kangaroo sides tour and dreaming of one day being there.

"At 33 I am close to achieving a record that would be something to be very proud of and something for the people of Fiji to share in.

"I've grown up in Australia all my life but my name still gets a lot of attention over there and it would be wonderful for them."

Civoniceva has worked tirelessly on his fitness and is ready to give rookie coach Tim Sheens everything in the tank in Australia's opening game against their World Cup conquerors New Zealand who'll unleash grand final destroyer Fui Fui Moi Moi.

Moi Moi's second half assault on Melbourne in the grand final was something special and almost got the Eels back in the game.

"We're going to need a Mack truck to stop him, it's been unbelievable watching him play," said the 36-Test warrior.

"That grand final performance was one of the best front-rower performances I've seen in all my years.

"The way he took Melbourne on single handedly and almost turned the game for Parramatta.

"This year has been unbelievable for him.

"He's a pretty scary proposition but we have assembled a very strong pack and we're looking forward to taking them on."

Civoniceva said New Zealand deserved to be favourites on their World Cup win over the Kangaroos.

"I'm more than happy for them to have the favourites tag and I have enormous respect for them and their coach Stephen Kearney.

"They're a very close-knit team and they've had some time together in camp which is when they play their best.

"They're a relatively young team, but they play with that pride and passion New Zealand teams are famous for."

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