Rauluni warning for England
November 6, 2008
The Pacific Islanders perform the Siva Tau in front of the Houses of Parliament in London © Getty Images
Pacific Islanders captain Mosese Rauluni warned England not to underestimate the power of Polynesia ahead of Saturday's showdown at Twickenham.
The squad only came together on Sunday night and the challenge of moulding a team from three different nations in such a short time is considerable. But Rauluni insisted the Islanders are not heading to Twickenham to provide England with a handy warm-up game before Australia, South Africa and New Zealand come calling.
"We haven't come here to be cannon fodder," said the Saracens captain, who has played in all six of the Pacific Islanders' Test matches. "We have a good experience side - we hope to spoil Martin Johnson's party and silence the crowd by winning the match. We are confident we can do that. We have a good squad."
The Islanders have named a side packed with ferocious attacking talent - most of which is familiar to the England players and coaches. England's new attack coach Brian Smith signed Samoan pair Seilala Mapasua, one of the outstanding centres in the Guinness Premiership, and blistering winger Sailosi Tagicakibau for London Irish.
Fijian Vilimoni Dealasau, who scored sensational World Cup tries against Wales and South Africa, starts on the other wing.
"We will be able to unleash our fast outside backs," Rauluni added. "But the first job is to think about our set piece and win the ball."
England would expect to dominate in the tight five but the new experimental law variations reduce their ability to overpower nations with close, driving play. Tongan number eight Nili Latu, who terrorised England at the World Cup, said: "It is going to be a big pack. We haven't had a long time to come together but we are confident we can do the job.
"The hard yards start up front and if we set the platform right we have the backs to finish it off. We are confident we have the forward pack to do that."
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton