Maka unveils squad for French battle
September 29, 2011
Tonga coach Isitolo Maka has named a strong side against France with some saying there is an outside chance of an upset © Getty Images
Tonga head coach Isitolo Maka has announced his team to play France in their crunch Rugby World Cup clash in Wellington on Saturday.
Flanker Finau Maka returns from a rib injury in one of four changes to the side that beat Japan 31-18 in their last Pool A outing. Prop Kisi Pulu also returns while inside centre Andrew Ma'ilei and winger Viliame Iongi have also been restored to the starting line-up as the Tongan target a shock bonus point win that would see them edge out Les Bleus for a quarter-final berth.
"A lot of things need to happen for us on Saturday and everyone knew what to expect, so for us we're ready as much as we can be," commented Isitolo Maka. "We've been training well, straight after the game against Japan we had two days' rest, and got back into physical training and contact. Everything's been going well.
"I have a lot of respect for the French team, it doesn't matter who they put on the field they always do their best, for us it's not going to be easy," he said. "Whoever is playing, they have the French flair, they can beat anyone on their day. They can beat any team in the world, whether it's New Zealand or Australia, so for us we have to expect a really hard game."
Tonga: V Lilo, V Iongi, S Piutau, A Ma'ilei, S Hufanga, K Morath, T Moa, S Tonga'uiha, A Lutui, K Pulu, T Lokotui, P Hehea, S Kalamafoni, F Maka (c) , V Ma'afu
Replacements: E Taukafa, A Taumalolo, H Aulika, J Tuineau, S Vahafolau, S Fisilau, A Fatafehi
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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