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Kangaroos hail 'legend' Civoniceva

Kangaroos players rate Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva as dangerous as ever as they prepare to face him at the Rugby League World Cup, suggesting the 37-year-old prop could still be playing in the NRL.
Kangaroos hail 'legend' Civoniceva
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

LONDON, Oct 29 AAP - Kangaroos players rate Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva as dangerous as ever as they prepare to face him at the Rugby League World Cup, suggesting the 37-year-old prop could still be playing in the NRL.

Civoniceva, who played 45 Tests for Australia, will face his former nation in St Helens on Saturday after agreeing to captain his country of birth at the tournament.

Despite retiring from the NRL with Brisbane at the end of 2012, a fit-looking Civoniceva looked to have lost none of his trademark go-forward and toughness in Fiji's opening 32-14 win over Ireland.

The front-rower spent last season playing with Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup but will hang up the boots for good after the World Cup.

Kangaroos Luke Lewis and Michael Jennings can't wait to face their former Penrith teammate on Saturday, hailing him as a legend of the game who could play on longer if he wanted to.

"He could be playing first grade at a club anywhere," Cronulla forward Lewis told AAP.

"The last couple of years I played with him (at Penrith) he was outstanding.

"I've seen a few of his game he's been playing up in Queensland Cup and he was just killing it.

"I think he's still getting better with age and we're expecting a big game from him.

"He's a legend. I love him as a person and as a mate."

Sydney Roosters star Jennings, who also spent two years with Civoniceva at the Panthers, hailed the veteran prop as the ultimate professional.

Jennings said Civoniceva's influence was instrumental in him getting his career back on track after some troubled times with the Panthers.

"He had a major influence in showing what do off the field and being a professional," said Jennings, who will come into the Kangaroos side after missing selection for the opening win over England.

"Everything he did off the field was something I took on board.

"He's still got the goods (on the field) too. I don't know why he's retired."

Civoniceva, who appeared in 309 NRL games for Brisbane and Penrith, played 55 minutes against Ireland, contributing 15 hitups and 23 tackles while he was held up over the line to be narrowly denied a try.


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