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RLWC success inspires Tonga U20

Zanzeer Singh
Friday, December 01, 2017

TONGA under-20 will be drawing inspiration from their national team's success at the Rugby League Word Cup when the side faces Fiji in the second match of Oceania U20 Trophy at Churchill Park in Lautoka tomorrow.

Tonga is aiming to win the fixture to secure a spot at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Trophy tournament for the first time in four years. The last time Tonga participated in the World Rugby U20 Trophy was in Hong Kong in 2014 where the side went down to Japan 35-10 in the final.

Tonga coach Fa'one Bloomfield said they had not qualified for the world event in recent years.

He said back in Tonga, the people were still celebrating their national rugby league team's first ever qualification in the World Cup semi-final.

"Back home it is all red," Bloomfield said.

"If this tournament was in Tonga than I don't think Fiji would stand a chance."

Halfback Alipate Valentin Tuipulotu and first five eight Nautu'a Netane Masima are nursing injuries from the 15-all draw on Tuesday.

The side failed to cross the Fiji try line relying on Masima's boots to level the scores.

Bloomfield said some players had minor injury concerns.

"Hopefully they would be cleared before game time," he said.

"We are focusing on this game because we haven't been to the World U20 Trophy tournament lately. This will be a good opportunity.

" If we get a good result we will be there. We will play a simple game, for the boys to make some progress from Tuesday.

"It is just the matter of executing the game plan. We have worked on our set piece and defence during training.

"We hope to name pretty much the same line-up from Tuesday but then it will depend on the weather.

"It will be lovely to see some red colour in the stadium."

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