Fiji can win says Satala

FORMER Vodafone Flying Fijians centre Viliame “The Stretcher” Satala has called on the Akapusi Qera-captained Vodafone-sponsored national team to forget about the crowd and play their hearts out when they battle against Tonga in the much anticipated Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

Renowned for his crunching tackles that have sent many casualties off the field during his heyday, Satala said playing against Tonga on their home turf was always a huge challenge.

He said he had played many times against the Tongans on their home turf and all these games were brutal and physical.

Satala said the team needed to be 200 per cent physically, mentally and spiritually focused for this weekend’s games.

“For me it’s much tougher to play in Tonga compared with Samoa,” he said.

“In my first tour in 1999 under the guidance of Brad Johnstone, we defeated Tonga on their home turf but it was a hard fought win. Tonga is a different team altogether playing in front of their King and their vocal fans.

“This weekend it will be 15 Fijians versus thousands of Tongans which include the players, their King and their vocal fans.”

Satala said the Fijians had the material and the potential to win the game. He said defence would be an integral factor to their game.

“Not only defence but tough and aggressive defence. We need to have the guts, courage and the determination to battle the Tongans head-on. One on one tackles is really important and I have faith in these set of boy being selected to represent the country.”

He said the team had a good mix of experienced and young players who had been impressive in their past three games.

“We have a good mix and it’s great to have some experience players such as Leone Nakarawa, Akapusi Qera and others. The boys can win and they need to really focus on the game because they have some talented players in the side,” he added

Satala made his debut with the Flying Fijians in 1999 and won 29 caps scoring a total of 80 points. He was also part of the Fiji 7s team that won the 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Hong Kong and was named the best outside back of the 1999 Rugby World Cup by Stephen Jones .

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