6 July, 2017, 12:00 am
THE Vodafone Flying Fijians should not only be expecting a physical encounter, but they will also have to deal with the mental aspects of playing the Tongans on their home ground.
Former Flying Fijian and current Naitasiri coach Koli Sewabu said the Ikale Tahi side seemed to be playing at 150 per cent when playing at home.
Given the fact, they would be playing in front of their home crowd and especially in the presence of the royal family.
“It’s always different when Tonga plays at home especially if their king, King Tupou VI (Ahoeitu Unuakiotonga Tukuaho) is watching and all their noble family members are there too,” Sewabu said.
“The thing that stands out when playing Tonga, you have to be fully focused because it is a very physical team.
“It was harder to be playing Tonga in front of their home crowd.
He said the game would be a test of character for the Flying Fijians.
“We have done it in the past, its a matter of making the right decisions on the day in order to topple Tonga on their home turf.
He added Fiji should try to maintain their dominance in the set pieces.
Despite the Fijian forwards falling apart against the Italians and then later rectifying it against Scotland, Sewabu says, “We have the ability to compete in the set-pieces, the scrums, the line-outs and complement it with the Fijian flair.
“With that we should be able to give Tonga a good game.
“But in saying that Tonga with their big forward pack, they are pretty good in the mauls so our maul defence has to be really good.
“But I think if we run them around the park we should be able to dominate them.
Sewabu wished the Flying Fijians all the best in their upcoming games. The two teams will meet in the Pacific Nations Cup which also serves as the Rugby World Cup qualifiers at 3pm in Tonga on Saturday.