Auckland - Inspirational Tonga rugby captain
Finau Makau is in doubt for Friday's opening Rugby World Cup clash with
the All Blacks despite being named in the side on Wednesday.
France-based Maka, who has played for top flight French club Toulouse,
strained an Achilles heel five days ago and has not been able to train
A decision on whether he will start against the All Blacks
will be made after Thursday's captain's run on the eve of the All Blacks
match with Maka more confident than his brother and coach Isitolo that
he will take the field.
"We have just one concern, Finau. We will finalise it on Thursday," Isitolo told a press conference when naming the side.
thinking like that but to me I'm playing," Finau Maka interrupted,
before adding: "We'll have a captain's run on Thursday and see from there."
have opted for a 5-2, forward-back split as they prepare to take the
All Blacks on up front and coach Maka, a former All Blacks number eight,
said they were preparing for a high attrition rate in a bruising
The lighter Waikato Chiefs halfback Taniela Moa
has been given the nod to start ahead of the strapping 1.82 metre (six
foot) 95 kilogram (15 stones) Samisoni Fisilau who likes to operate as
an extra forward.
Maka said it was a difficult decision knowing
when to start Fisilau but the decision was made to bring him off the
bench when fresh muscle power was needed.
The pack also includes Blues backrow Viliami Ma'afu, props Taufa'ao Filise from the
Cardiff Blues and Soane Tonga'uiha of the Northampton Saints and hooker
Aleki Lutui who plays for the Worcester Warriors.
Maka said he has also gone for speed in the backline to show Tonga can play an expansive game when required.
not just about the contact area. I have faith in our backline. We will
move the ball wide and show what we can do. It's not about smashing each
other and the opposition going into the contact zone," he said.
Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Viliame Iongi, 13 Sukanaivalu Hufanga,
12 Andre Ma'ilei, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Taniela Moa,
8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Finau Maka (captain), 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Joseph
Tuineau, 4 Paino Hehea, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Soane
Substitutes: 16 Ephraim Taukafa, 17 Alisona
Taumalolo, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Samiu Vahafolau,
21 Samisoni Fisilau, 22 Alipate Fatafehi
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill
Williams, 11 Isaia Toeava, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Victor
Vito, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad
Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony WoodcockSubstitutes: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Cory Jane