Male: We’re just aiming to go out and win

Nikola Matawalu1

The IRB Pacific Nations Cup reaches its conclusion on Sunday at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground with three teams still in with a chance of claiming the silverware.

Canada (13 points) currently top the standings but having played their four games, they can only sit back and watch as Fiji (11) take on Tonga (10), with the winner assured of the title.

A high scoring draw with Fiji also bagging four tries would also see them finish top, while a low-scoring draw would see Canada crowned champions.

“We’re just aiming to go out and win,” said Fiji coach Inoke Male, when asked how his team would approach the match.

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“It’s going to be a very physical game: typical Pacific rivalry. The team that uses the options well will win. We will need to concentrate for the full 80 minutes to beat Tonga.”

Male’s starting XV shows five changes from the one that took the field on Wednesday against the United States.

Five changes

In the pack, Campese Ma’afu comes in at loosehead prop, Vili Veikoso starts at hooker and Wame Lewaravu has recovered from illness and takes his place in the second row.

There are also two positional switches with Api Naikatini moving from lock to flanker, and Netani Talei from flanker to number 8.

In the backs, Nemia Kenatale starts at scrum half and Saula Raditi is handed the No.12 jersey. Seremaia Bobo shifts from 12 to 10, while Nikola Matawalu, who started the last game at 9 moves to 15 to replace the injured Timoci Nagusa.

With three players suspended and a number missing through injury, the Ikale Tahi have made three changes and three positional switches from the side that beat the United States last week in Los Angeles.

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Peni Fakalelu comes in at loosehead prop, Japan-based Emosi Kauhenga is handed the No.6 jersey and Hale T Pole shifts to number 8.

In the backs, Alaska Taufu returns at outside centre, with Fraser Anderson moving to the wing and Viliame Iongi shifting to full back.

“Tomorrow is the most important game of the year for us. It’s really exciting,” said Tonga captain Nili Latu. “We’ve never had the trophy before so we are going to give it our all. We’re hungry to win. But we need to control our discipline, back our game and not give silly penalties away.”

-irb