Thursday, November 13, 2014

International Rugby: Tonga v USA Teams Named

Photo:USA Rugby
The team lists for Saturday's international fixture between Tonga and the USA Eagles were released earlier today. The two Tier Two nations will face-off at Kingsholm in Gloucester in an important match for both teams as they look to leave a lasting impression at next years Rugby World Cup. The Pacific Islanders start as favorites based on being ranked thirteenth in the world compared to the USA which is ranked sixteenth. Also of note is the rosters of the two teams with Tonga having big name players from the Aviva Premiership while the USA is missing its players. Tonga's veteran lineup is in stark contrast to that of the Eagles who will be led by Scott LaValla (pictured to the right) with Todd Clever named on the bench.

Tonga's front-row is packed with experience compared to the USA but there is, nonetheless, an interesting battle set to be fought out between the teams. Of note is nationalized Tongan Mate Moeakiola starting against Tevita Mailau. Veteran hooker Aleki Lutui is a player of note while Phil Thiel's performances for his country in recent seasons suggest he has a lot to offer. 

Fresh faces have been named in the second-row for the USA including a first test start for Greg Peterson. His selection comes with Samu Manoa and Hayden Smith both missing while Lou Stanfill will also miss the contest. In Tukulua Lokotui and Fijian Joe Tu'ineau Tonga has a first choice combination that the USA will do well to hold off.

Vetern Nili Latu will lead Tonga in the second-row. he will face John Quill, a player who made a notable impact in 2012 and 2013 but has missed out on international duty for over twelve months due to injury. Another interesting tussle is that of Viliami Ma'afu v Matt Trouville at the back of the scrum while Sione Kalamafoni will need to be on his game against Stade Français' Scott LaValla.

In the backs Sonatane Takulua, who is one of many born in Tonga but raised in New Zealand, will face Mike Petri at scrumhalf. With coach Mike Tolkin having made numerous changes it is noteworthy that Petri remains in the position. New Zealander Kurt Morath is to face American Samoan Shalom Suniula in the halves in what is a match-up likely to he vital to the outcome.

Lesser name players from both teams are to play wings though an interested clash is that of Vungakoto Lilo v Folau Niua at fullback. Together with notable centres there are to be some solid line runners carrying a significant physical presence. Hermani Paea and Siale Piutau will take on Andrew Suniula and Seamus Kelly, the later of whom has been on a trial at Gloucester and likely to sign a contract after the international series. 

Tevita Mailau 
Nick Wallace
Aleki Lutui 
Phil Thiel
Paea Fa'anunu 
Mate Moeakiola
Tukulua Lokotui 
John Cullen
Joe Tu'ineau 
Greg Peterson
Sione Kalamafoni 
Scott LaValla
Nili Latu 
John Quill
Viliami Ma'afu 
Matt Trouville
Sonatane Takulua 
Mike Petri
Kurt Morath 
Shalom Suniula
Fetu'u Vainikolo 
Tim Stanfill
Hermani Paea 
Andrew Suniula
Siale Piutau 
Seamus Kelly
David Halaifonua 
Tim Maupin
Vungakoto Lilo
Folau Niua
Elvis Taione 
Tom Coolican
Sione Lea 
Angus MacLellan
Sila Puafisi 
Benjamin Tarr
Lisiate Fa'aoso 
Tai Tuisamoa
Hale T Pole 
Kyle Sumsion
Taniula Moa 
Todd Clever
Latiume Fosita 
Thretton Palamo
Otulea Katoa
Ronald McLean

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