18 Aug 2012

Sport: Tonga sevens to play for former coach who passed away suddenly

6:38 am on 18 August 2012

Tonga won't be short of motivation at the upcoming Oceania Men's Sevens tournament in Sydney.

As well as a place at next year's World Cup they will also be playing for their former coach, who passed away last weekend.

Vinnie Wylie reports.

Otenili Piseleti was a Tongan Rugby Union board member and previously had a stint as coach of the sevens team a couple of years ago.

He was due to lead the team once again at next weekend's Oceania Sevens tournament in Sydney but suffered a stroke last weekend, and passed away early on Monday morning.

Manu Vunipola will now take the reigns and says the whole team wants to play well for Piseleti.

"I stand up to cover for my brother in law. It's hard getting together with the team starting on Monday and I have to focus and follow up what he's been doing. That's the main thing - I have to motivate the boys because this tournament is dedicated to him."

There are also two places at next year's Sevens World Cup up for grabs, along with spots at the Gold Coast, Wellington and Hong Kong legs of the IRB World Series.