SPORTS

Tonga Call In Top Names To Face Fiji

Tongan coach Toutai Kefu recalls Kalamafoni after three-year absence   
30 Aug 2019 18:46
Tonga Call In Top Names To Face Fiji
Tonga coach Toutai Kefu

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are in for a tough time after the Tongans named a strong line-up in tomorrow’s clash at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

Earlier this week, the Flying Fijians senior assistant coach Tabai Matson warned that playing the Tongans is not going to be a joke.

A similar sentiment was voiced by head coach John McKee.

Tongan coach Toutai Kefu has recalled Sione Kalamafoni after three years absence.

The 31-year-old loose forward earned the last of his 31 test caps for the ‘Ikale Tahi in June 2016 and was ruled out of the Pacific Nations Cup through injury but the Leicester Tigers back-rower has proved his fitness at the optimum time.

Stade Francais prop Siegfried Fisi’ihoi starts alongside hooker Paul Ngauamo and Siua Halanukonuka in the front row, in what will be his first test appearance of 2019.

ACT Brumbies and former Australian Under-20s prop Vunipola Fifita is set to make his test debut off the bench.

In the backs James Faiva is once again given the nod at first five, with veteran Kurt Morath included on the bench ahead of Latiume Fosita.

Inspirational number eight Nasi Manu and fullback Telusa Veainu are both training with the ‘Ikale Tahi squad in Auckland this week but will have to wait another week to return to on-field action having been left out of the 23-man squad.

However, Kefu told RNZ Pacific last week that the pair are quality players who will be a part of their World Cup squad if fit and healthy.

Tonga, who beat the Flying Fijians 27-18 when the teams last met in Lautoka 14 months ago, will round out their World Cup preparations against the All Blacks in Hamilton next weekend.

LINE-UP

Tonga: 15 David Halaifonua, 14 Atieli Pakalani, 13 Siale Piutau (c), 12 Cooper Vuna, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 10 James Faiva, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Fotu Lokotui, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Leva Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi

Replacements: 16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Maʻafu Fia, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Kurt Morath, 23 Mali Hingano.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Ben O’Keefe (NZ), Assistant Referees: Nick Briant (NZ), Cam Stone (NZ), TMO: Aaron Peterson (NZ).

Edited by Osea Bola

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