15 Jan 2013

Sport: Tonga keen for Uprising test ahead of Wellington

11:08 am on 15 January 2013

Tonga coach Etuate Waqa says this weekend's Uprising Sevens tournament in Lautoka will provide a good gauge of where his team is at heading into next months World Series leg in Wellington.

Former Fiji assistant coach Waqa has been in charge of the Tongan team since September and says the squad has spent a lot of time improving their conditioning and physicality in training.

Tonga took part in the Gold Coast leg of the World Series in October and Waqa says tournaments such as November's Coral Coast Sevens and this weekend's Uprising tournament are an invaluable test for his players.

"We up against the Fiji shadow team to play in Wellington - that is in our pool game - then we've got the Police and Lomaiviti made up of former players of Serevi and Marika Vunibaka. I think that will give us a good estimate of how we can see ourselves before the Wellington Sevens."

Among the other teams taking part this weekend are shadow Samoan and Australian teams, while Gordon Tietjens is coaching an Emerging New Zealand team.