13 Sep 2012

Sport: New 'Ikale Tahi coach says everyone will have chance to impress

11:11 am on 13 September 2012

The new Tongan rugby coach, Mana Otai, says all players will start with a clean slate and be given an opportunity to impress him in the lead-up to November's Northern Tour.

The 43 year old ex international replaces Isitolo Maka, who's contract was not renewed following last year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Otai says he's thrilled to finally get the chance to lead the team after being overlooked the last few times he applied.

He says all players in Tonga and overseas will have an chance to stake their claim.

"I'll make sure that I even look at the sevens competition - there's always talent that crops up from that sort of competition as well as the Pacific Rugby Cup. In fact I have already had correspondence about players so we are already making headway in those areas. One of the things I'm huge on in actually utilising people who are already in those positions to be the eyes and ears out for me there as well."

Otai says while Tonga likes to play the game with flair the simple things need to be executed well first.

Naturally we are very gifted in other areas as players so I would like to think that those are extras outside doing the basics very well and funny enough, as you see the way rugby is played nowadays, we used to think that the higher you get the more sophisticated you are but it is the other way round - the just do the simple things really well and at a very high speed.