23 Nov 2018

Sport: Two debutants to start for Tonga vs Georgia

9:34 am on 23 November 2018

Number eight Zane Kapeli and midfielder Latu Vaeno will make their test debuts in Tonga's final November tour match against Georgia this weekend.

The Bay of Plenty loose forward and Taranaki utility back came off the bench against the French Barbarians two weeks ago but will start for the 'Ikale Tahi in Tbilisi, in place of Sione Vailanu, who drops to the reserves and captain Siale Piutau, who has returned to his club side Bristol.

Chiefs player Latu Vaeno tries to slip between Blues players Hame Faiva, left, and Alex Hodgman during the Blues vs Chiefs pre season Super Rugby match played at Alexandra Park in Auckland on the 17th February 2017.

Latu Vaeno (c) will make his test debut against Georgia. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In the only other change to the starting fifteen thumped 74-24 by Wales, Sefo Sakalia replaces Paula Ngauamo at hooker.

Hooker Sione Anga'aelangi is set to make his first test appearance since 2016 off the bench.

Wellington prop Otutolu Fahamokioa and Hawkes Bay lock Sam Ulufonua are also set to earn their first test caps for the 'Ikale Tahi after being named in the matchday 23.

First five Kurt Morath is one of three Tongan players involved when they last played in Georgia.

First five Kurt Morath is one of three Tongan players involved when they last played in Georgia. Photo: Facebook/Georgian Rugby

Sonatane Takulua, Kurt Morath and Vungakoto Lilo all played in Tonga's 23-19 victory in Tbilisi back in 2014 but the 'Ikale Tahi have lost their last three tests against the Lelos, including a 16-15 defeat in Suva in June.

Tonga squad:

1. Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 2. Sefo Sakalia, 3. Ma'afu Fia, 4. Leva Fifita, 5. Sitiveni Mafi , 6. Dan Faleafa, 7. Fotu Lokotui, 8. Zane Kapeli*, 9. Sonatane Takulua (c),10. Kurt Morath, 11. Daniel Kilioni, 12. Alaska Taufa, Latu Vaeno*, 14. Viliami Lolohea, 15. Vungakoto Lilo.

Reserves: 16 Sione Anga'aelangi, 17. 'Otutolu Fahamokioa*, 18. Ben Tameifuna, 19. Sam Ulufonua*, 20. Mike Faleafa, 21. Sione Vailanu, 22. Leon Fukofuka, 23. 'Atieli Pakalani.

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