3 Jul 2011

Sport: Tonga have one eye on World Cup

3:00 pm on 3 July 2011

Tonga rugby coach Isitolo Maka insists his side will be competitive in the Pacific Nations Cup but is not afraid to admit he's more concerned with what happens in New Zealand in two months time.

The Ikale Tahi open their PNC campaign against Fiji in Lautoka this afternoon, with Japan hosting Samoa in the later game.

The Tongan team has just returned from London where they took part in the Churchill Cup tournament, mixing wins over the USA with losses to England and Italy's A teams.

Isitolo Maka says the PNC will offer more valuable match time for his players but says it will all count for nothing if they don't perform at the World Cup.

"The problem with the PNC that, you know, maybe we'll still have about four weeks before the world cup starts so we can't really put too much focus on the PNC at the same time - just make sure that the world cup is the ultimate goal and make sure we're at our peak at the right time."

The Pacific Nations Cup runs for two weeks until July 16th, with Rugby World Cup squads due to be announced in mid-August.