Tonga shuffle backline for Argentina
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu has reshuffled his backline his side’s Pool C match against Argentina at Hanazono Rugby Stadium on Saturday.
The tournament-ending throat injury to record points-scorer Kurt Morath during the 3-35 defeat to England means James Faiva makes his first World Cup start at flyhalf. Faiva played the last 30 minutes in Sapporo following Morath’s departure.
Behind Faiva, captain Siale Piutau switches to inside-centre to accommodate Malietoa Hingano on the outside – Tonga also lost the services of centre Nafi Tuitavake with a broken arm sustained in the last seconds of Sunday’s match.
David Halaifonua moves from fullback to left-wing, with Viliami Lolohea moving from left to right-wing and Telusa Veainu coming in at fullback.
In contrast, the starting pack only shows one change from the England game, Paula Ngauamo replacing Sosefo Sakalia at hooker.
— Tonga Rugby Union (@officialTongaRU) September 26, 2019
Commenting on his first World Cup start, Faiva revealed he was looking forward to the match against Argentina.
“It’s disappointing to lose Kurt the way we have, but we’ve got to keep moving forward as a team and I want to take the chance that has been given to me. It’s a great opportunity to show my talents,” he said.
Tonga: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Villiami Lolohea, 13 Malietoa Hingano, 12 Siale Piutau (captain), 11 David Halaifonua, 10 James Faiva, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Halalevu Fifita, 4 Sam Louisi, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 1 Siegfried Fisiíhoi.
Replacements: 16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka , 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 Cooper Vuna.
Date: Saturday, September 28
Venue: Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiosaka City
Kick-off: 13.45 (01.45 Argentina time; 04.45 GMT; 17.45 Tonga time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)