Tonga name 13 debutants to face All Blacks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Tonga have revealed their team to face the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.
There are nine new caps in Tonga’s starting XV and four of their eight replacements will also make their debuts when they come onto the field.
The entire loose trio of Mateaki Kafatolu, Solomone Funaki and Sione Tu’ipolotu are newcomers.
There are also three debutants in the tight five in the form of Duke Nginingini, Sam Moli and Don Lolo.
Nikolai Foliaki, Fine Inisi and Hosea Saumaki are the new faces in the backline.
On the bench, Tau Koloamatangi, Harrison Mataele, Viliami Taulani and Walter Fifita will also get their first taste of Test rugby when they take to the field.
Tonga: 15 James Faiva, 14 Hosea Saumaki, 13 Fine Inisi, 12 Nikolai Foliaki, 11 Penikolo Latu, 10 Kalione Hala, 9 Sonatane Takulua (captain), 8 Sione Tu’ipolotu, 7 Solomone Funaki, 6 Mateaki Kafatolu, 5 Zane Kapeli, 4 Don Lolo, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Sam Moli, 1 Duke Nginingini.
Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17Jethro Felemi, 18 Tau Koloamatangi, 19 Harrison Mataele, 20 Viliami Taulani, 21 Nasi Manu, 22 Leon Fukofuka, 23 Walter Fifita.
Date: Saturday, July 3
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.05 (20.05 TOT; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Paul Williams & Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman