20 Aug 2016

Sport: Pacific-based league players to impress at Ohana cup

11:41 am on 20 August 2016

Tonga have had to call in reinforcements for tomorrow's Ohana Cup rugby league clash against Samoa in Hawai'i, with even members of the coaching staff preparing to take to the field.

Two players were ruled out after picking up injuries during last week's 24-16 defeat by the Fiji Residents in Suva, while two more players were unable to join the team in Hawaii because of visa issues.

Team manager Toa Kaufusi said that caused something of a reshuffle.

"The two guys that were injured against Fiji are from the backrow and they need to get replacements for that."

"We also had two players that went back to Tonga that didn't get their visas - one of them is one of our key players so we're trying to replace him with someone in the team...we did call in two more to come in to support us but our assistant coach is he plays as well so he will be in the game - he's been training for it as well," he said.

Toa Kaufusi said the match was a good opportunity for their local players to get recognised overseas.

Meanwhile a team made up entirely of locally-based players will represent Fiji in a full test match against Canada.

Coach Joe Rabele admits their opponents are something of an unknown quantity.

"No, I don't have much but I've been seen reading the paper and reading the mails regarding Canada they're a very good side because they were involved in the repechage to be involved in the World Cup so it is a big challenge for us - especially for the local boys to give an opportunity to play this test match," he said.

The Ohana Cup is in its fourth year with the New South Wales Police also taking on the Hawaiian Rugby League Chiefs and number of concerts and other events taking place over the two-day festival.