PNC- Tonga & Fiji to battle it out
Tonga and Fiji has a long history, from the brutal battlegrounds when a Tongan by the name of Ma’afu went on the rampage in the 1850’s. This history has evolved into the Tongan influence being in Fiji and the northern group of Lau Islands a blend of the 2 nations.
Modern day sees them get on extremely well, however on the footy field there is no meaner collision when these men meet. Big meets big and nothing is held back as today’s battle is for rugby supremacy. Tonga has pipped Fiji the past 2 seasons and this will be very vivid on the minds of the coach and players. In Nuku'alofa Tonga’s capital there is hype and high interest in this weekends test. Tonga is lining up after 4 loses in a row, but word on the street is that the locals back their boys and think the early days of Ma’afu dominance still puts Tongan fear into the flying Fijian’s. It is amazing that over 150 years later they are convinced this still is a thought in today’s player’s minds. When you see the Tongans in the flesh though it is quite easy to see why the fans are confident.
Going on today’s knowledge both teams had a hit out captains run at the national stadium, these were 2 very different styles. Fiji was first and after a light touch session, it was into match type situation with opposition tackling them hard. Coaches were yelling instructions and everything seemed very fluid. Tonga on the other hand was a bit slower; they had the starting 15 on the field and practiced a series of drills but had no one opposing them. The Tongan’s would stand around and review the moves and senior players like Nili Latu and T/Pole had a lot to say. Both teams had the traditional ice baths after the run and both teams are looking in tiptop shape.
Come high noon in Tonga the battle begins again, conditions are very blue and very hot and these boys will be sure to entertain with big hits and flair galore.
FIJI: 15 Dan Rawaqa, 14 Jerry Tuilevu, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Saula Radidi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Aporosa Vata, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Aca Ratuva, 6 Deryck Thomas, 5 Kele Leawere (capt) 4 Josefa Domolailai, 3 Jone Railomo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Graham Dewes
Reserves: Vereniki Sauturaga, Viliame Seuseu, Sailosi Rabonaqica, Rupeni Nasiga, Nemia Kenatale, Jonetani Ralulu, Iliesa Keresoni