8 Jun 2011

Sport: Tonga anticipating battle up front

3:22 pm on 8 June 2011

Tongan rugby coach Isitolo Maka is anticipating a battle up front when the Ikale Tahi open their Churchill Cup rugby campaign against the USA on Thursday morning.

It's the Ikale Tahi's first match of the tournament but their opponents are already on the back foot, after being embarrassed 87-8 by the England Saxons at the weekend.

Head coach Isitolo Maka says the English haven't done them any favours with that scoreline and they expect the Americans will be desperate to prove they're better than that performance.

But he says if they can win the tussle up front they should be good enough to secure the victory.

"I think if we try to dominate set pieces and try to dominate the forwards - if we can do those two things we should be alright, if we can dominate the forward."

Tonga are using the Churchill Cup as preparation for the Pacific Nations Cup, which starts in Fiji next month.