20 Sep 2011

Sport: 'Ikale Tahi regain focus for Japan clash

10:34 am on 20 September 2011

Tonga have once again rung the changes for Wednesday night's must-win Pool A clash with Japan in Whangarei.

Eight new faces come into the starting fifteen, with lock Tukulua Lokotui and flanker Sione Vaiomo'unga the only forwards retained from last week's loss to Canada.

In the backs Kurt Morath moves moves back to first-five, outside Taniela Moa, with Vungakoto Lilo returning to the fullback berth and Sukanaivalu Hufanga replacing William Helu on the left wing.

Aleki Lutui will captain the side in the absence of Finau Maka.

With a quarter final berth still a faint possibility team manager Aminiasi Kefu says the team is fully focused on the task ahead.

"The loss to Canada was a bit of a wakeup call. I think some of our players were feeling more like celebrities after that gigantic welcome arriving in Auckland and just the parade of support. So somehow we just lost a little bit of focus after the All Blacks game."

The team is:

1 Soane Tonga'uiha

2 'Aleki Lutui, Captain

3 Taufa'ao Filise

4 Tukulua Lokotui

5 Paino Hehea

6 Sione Kalamafoni

7 Sione Vaiomo'unga

8 Viliami Ma'afu

9 Taniela Moa

10 Kurt Morath

11 Sukanaivalu Hufanga

12 'Alipate Fatafehi

13 Siale Piutau

14 Fetu'u Vainikolo

15 Vungakoto Lilo, Vice Captain


16 'Ilaisia Ma'asi

17 'Alisona Taumalolo

18 Halani 'Aulika

19 Joe Tu'ineau

20 Samiu Vahafolau

21 Samisoni Fisilau

22 Andrew Ma'ilei