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Today’s Key Match-Ups

Today’s Key Match-Ups
The Vodafone Flying Fijians after the captain’s run at theTeufaifa Stadium in Nuku’alofa on July 7, 2017. Photo: Atama Tamanilo
July 08
11:00 2017

Today is a big day for the Vodafone Flying Fijians as they take on Tongan Ikale Tahi in a crucial 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying clash at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa.

The Flying Fijians are gunning for a win to cement their spot in the 2019 RWC as Oceania’s number one while Tonga are on equal five points with Samoa and stand a good chance of qualifying as the top two.

There is going to be no love lost as the two neighbouring countries battle it out.

There are going to be interesting match-ups as they’ve fielded their top players- but here are four that we should ponder as we start our countdown:

JOSUA TUISOVA vs COOPER VUNA

Facing Vuna is going to be 23-year-old Tuisova’s biggest test. The Toulon winger has never faced a much stronger and more experienced winger like the Tongan.

Vuna has played for Auckland Warriors and Newcastle Knights in the NRL before switching to Melbourne Rebels to play Super Rugby. He also played two Test matches for the Australian Wallabies.

What an interesting tussle as the Fijian ‘Bus’ takes on Vuna who is going to be backed by 10,000 of his home fans.

SERUPEPELI VULARIKA vs SONATANE TAKULUA

The battle of the halfbacks could determine the outcome for today’s clash. Takulua scored twice in the 30-26 win over Samoa last Saturday and Tongan coach Toutai Kefu said this week now that they’ve finally got a good halfback after so many years. Tonga’s game is going to centre around, Takulua as he dictates their moves. Vularika has a big responsibility on his shoulders as he has to outthink and outplay his Tongan counterpart.

ASAELI TIKOIROTUMA vs SIALE PIUTAU

Tikoirotuma is expected to bring a total new perspective in the Flying Fijians game today. The former Chiefs centre is back at his usual position and could do the damage if he provides spaces for speedsters Patrick Osborne, Tuisova or Timoci Nagusa to run on. The Tongans have made a positional change where captain Piutau with his wealth of Super Rugby experience moves on to centre to take on Tikoirotuma. What a tussle is this going to be?

MANASA SAULO vs SIEGFREID FISI’IHOI

They always say the battle is going to be won upfront. The return of first choice tight-head prop Saulo is a sigh of relief for the Flying Fijians as he faces Fisi’ihoi who has played nine games for the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Dominating the scrum could swing the momentum of the game- Saulo and Fisi’ihoi could play a crucial role in that.

Edited by Osea Bola

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