Preview – Fiji v Tonga

Tonga travel to Lautoka to face Fiji still looking for a first win in the 2007 Pacific Nations Cup, buoyed by a promising first half performance that saw them leading the Junior All Blacks 13-10 at half time.

Tonga head coach Quddus Fielea has made 10 changes to his starting line up from that 39-13 defeat, two of them positional, with props Taufaao Filise and Tevita Taumoepeau among the returning players. Otenili Latu continues to captain the side at Churchill Park, hoping to repeat their 24-23 win in last year’s tournament.

“I expect the Fijians to be physical and quick to the breakdowns,” Latu told the Fiji Times.

“We will have to play at our own pace because we don’t want to lose the ball at the turnovers … we hope to use our power play and take them front on.”

Fiji, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from a 49-0 loss to Australia in a one-off Test in Perth last weekend, and head coach Ilivasi Tabua hands debuts to wing Michael Tagicakibau, fly half Waisea Luveniyali and flanker Deryck Thomas.

Four others – Vereniki Sauturaga, Dale Tonawai, Jone Daunivucu and Sisa Waqa – could all make their debuts from the bench as Tabua rotates players and hands the captaincy to scrum half Moses Rauluni.

Fiji: 15 Norman Ligairi, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Isoa Neivua, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Moses Rauluni (c), 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Aca Ratuva, 6 Deryck Thomas, 5 Kele Leawere, 4 Ifereimi Rawaqa, 3 Henry Qiodravu, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Graham Dewes.
Replacements: 16 Vereniki Sauturaga, 17 Apisai Turukawa, 18 Alifereti Doviverata, 19 Dale Tonawai, 20 Jone Daunivucu, 21 Sisa Waqa, 22 Vereniki Goneva.

Tonga: 15 Mesiu Lemoto, 14 Seti Kiole, 13 Suka Hufanga, 12 Hudson Tonga’uiha, 11 Sione Fonua, 10 Siua Taumalolo, 9 Soane Havea, 8 Samiu Vahafolau, 7 Otenili Langilangi (c), 6 Hale T-Pole, 5 Chris Hala’ufia, 4 Sione Kalamafoni, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Taufaao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Feki Moala, 17 Tome Toke, 18 Isileli Fine, 19 Teu’i Muli Kaufusi, 20 Tevita Tu’ifua, 21 Sila Va’enukuk, 22 Epeli Taione.

Date: Saturday, June 16
Venue: Lautoka
Kick-off: 14:30 (02:30 GMT)
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Touch judges: David Changleng (Scotland), Taizo Hirabayashi (Japan)

With thanks to the IRB & 365 Digital

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