Fiji and Tonga will face each other for the first time since playing off for third place in the 2009 Pacific Cup this Saturday night at Campbelltown Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT
Fiji’s last international coincided with Samoa’s 30-years of rugby league when they played on home soil for the first time ever in Apia. Sam Kasiano had an impact on the game with Samoa taking a commanding lead before Fiji fought back to trail 18-16 at the break. In a tense second half it was an intercept to Fiji’s Tyrone Phillips which won them the game mid-way through the second half. Fiji holding on 20-18.
Tonga’s last international was too against Samoa but twelve months ago as part of the Pacific Tests hosted at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium. Old stagers Frank Pritchard and Sika Manu inspired their sides during the contest. However it was a disappointing night for the Tongans who were outclassed 18-6. Moses Pangai the only player to cross for a try.
This game is won in the forwards and it will be physical, as you would come to expect in these Pacific Tests played which are played with plenty of passion. Some big boys in the Tongan back-row with Felise Kaufusi, Tony Williams and Joe Ofahengaue taking on the likes of Kane Evans, Viliame Kikau, Korbin Sims and the Siafiti brothers.
If the backs see some action Suliasi Vunivalu will play a big part in Fiji’s success on his international debut while big Manu Vatuevei could be the key for Samoa. Both very good at finding the line with the cult-hero master taking on the very slick apprentice.
A little more firepower out wide for Tonga might get them over the here. Will Hopoate, Daniel Tunpou, Vatuvei and Brenko Lee are quality NRL players and might just be a little good good despite the presence of Waqa Blake and Vunivalu for the opposition.
Tonga by 8
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