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Fiji Time: 8:30 PM on Saturday 30 August

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Pacific battle

Maciu Malo
Saturday, June 14, 2014

CHALLENGES have been made, the war of words have erupted — now the time has come for the Vodafone Flying Fijians and the Ikale Tahi Tonga to put these words into action in their 88th rugby meeting that started way back in 1924.

In these past 87 meetings, Fiji has defeated Tonga on 58 occasions while Tonga has beaten Fiji 26 times. There has been three draws for the sides.

A lot is at stake for these Pacific rugby rivals in their quest to make their countries proud.

Fiji needs a win for their home fans and most importantly to have a chance of retaining the PNC rugby title before facing Samoa next weekend.

Tonga on the other hand desperately needs a win to end their PNC campaign on a high note.

Flying Fijians skipper Akapusi Qera said his boys had what it would take to achieve their goal.

He said the side would lift their performance from the Italy game knowing their fellow South Sea islanders wanted nothing else than a win.

Qera said the side had rectified their mistakes from last week during training and they were looking forward to a good outing today.

The France-based player said he had faith in his teammates of repeating their last year's PNC feat against Tonga.

"We defeated Tonga in the PNC final last year and I have faith in our boys we can deliver the goods for fans this weekend," said Qera.

"We have worked on improving from the mistakes we committed last week and we will give our best during the game.

"Tonga has big forwards and they always like physical battle so it's going to be tough.

"But we are ready for the battle and we will give our best shot to make our fans proud."

Qera has been shifted from his usual open side flanker to man the number eight position in one of the few positional changes made by head coach John McKee.

Teams:

Tonga- Tevita mailau, Suliasi taufalele, Sila puafisi, Joshua afu, Daniel faleafa, Pasuka mapakaitolo, Nili latu (c), Viliami ma'afu, Sonatane takulua, Fangatapu 'apikotoa, Alaska taufa, Fraser anderson, Siale piutau, Fetu'u vainikolo, David halaifonua.

Reserves- Paula ngauamo, 'Ofa fainga'anuku, Eddie 'aholelei, Sitiveni mafi, Viliami fihaki, Samisoni fisilau, Latiume fosita, Will helu,

Fiji- Campese Ma'afu, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Manasa Saulo, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Leone Nakarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Malakai Ravulo, Akapusi Qera , Nikola Matawalu, Jonetani Ralulu, Watisoni Votu, Nemani Nadolo, Adriu Delai, Sireli Bobo, Timoci Nagusa.

Reserves- Viliame Veikoso, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Isei Colati, Apisai Naikatini, Nemani Nagusa, Nemia Kenatale, Waisea Nayacalevu, Metuisela Talebula.


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