Tonga ring the changes
September 19, 2011
Siale Piutau keeps his place in the centres © Getty Images
Tonga have once again opted for change over continuity ahead of their Pool A clash with Japan in Whangarei on Wednesday.
The Tongans have failed to find their form so far in the tournament losing their opening two clashes against the All Blacks and then a resilient Canada last Wednesday. Despite Isitolo Maka facing criticism for ringing the changes ahead of the clash with the Canucks, this has not deterred him from re-jigging his side with the most notable omission his brother and captain Finau Maka.
There has yet to be any confirmation over whether Maka is injured - the No.8 struggled with an ankle injury in the build-up to the World Cup - but nevertheless his absence will take the headlines.
Elsewhere, Kurt Morath is reinstated at fly-half with Taneila Moa moving back to scrum-half. Vunga Lilo takes Morath's spot at fullback with Fetu'u Vainikolo and Sukanaivalu Hufanga starting on the wing. Maka misses out on selection with Viliami Ma'afu starting at No.8 and Sione Kalamafoni coming in at blindside. Paino Hehea starts in the second-row while the front-row has the familiar look to it with Soane Tonga'uiha, Taufa'ao Filise and new skipper Aleki Lutui reunited.
Tonga: Vungakoto Lilo; Fetu'u Vainikolo, Siale Piutau, Alipate Fatafehi, Sukanaivalu Hufanga; Kurt Morath, Taniela Moa; Soane Tonga'uiha, Aleki Lutui (capt), Taufa'ao Filise, Tukulua Lokotui, Paino Hehea, Sione Kalamafoni, Sione Vaiomo'unga, Viliami Ma'afu
Replacements: Aloisio Ma'asi, Alisona Taumalolo, Halani Aulika, Joseph Tu'ineau, Samiu Vahafolau, Samisoni Fisilau, Viliame Iongi
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