Rugby fans ready for PNC second round

Another weekend of hard hitting and champagne rugby awaits fans at Churchill Park in Lautoka with the second round of the Pacific Nations Cup.

Samoa with a win in the bag already, will face Tonga while Fiji takes on Australia A.

The Tongans, with big names in their camp, failed to muster up a single point last weekend. Coach Toutai Kefu’s instruction for the team has been to get serious.

The Tongans are boasting some of the biggest names in Pacific rugby such as Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piatau, Israel Folau and Augustine Pulu.

Kefu’s bigger mission is to use the PNC as a training ground for the World Cup qualifiers, but the rivalry between the Tongans and Samoans is something that cannot be set aside.

Australia A captain Ryan Lonergan, Flying Fijians Captain Waisea Nayacalevu, Ikale Tahi Tonga Captain Sonatane Takulua and Manu Samoa Captain Michael Alaalatoa at Albert Park in Suva. Picture: supplied

Whenever these two have met on the field, passion and national pride has taken over. Intense moments have every time turned into swinging fists.

This is part of the Pacific rivalry and more fuel would be added to the fire by the fans. Tongan fans have definitely shown the way.

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For Samoa, they have had a good start to their PNC as they saw off Australia A impressively last weekend.

Coach Seilala Mapasua has the technical backing of former All Black great Tana Umaga. The rugby great has been running the Samoan backline and they will be deadly as ever.

Australia A head coach Jason Gilmore and his men are looking to improve their performance when playing hosts the Flying Fijians.

Another weekend of hard hitting and champagne rugby awaits fans at Churchill Park in Lautoka with the second round of the Pacific Nations Cup. Picture: supplied

He has swapped players around and changed a few positions to make sure they are ready for Fiji.

Poor discipline cost the Aussies the game against the Samoans and Gilmore has spent the past week analysing their performance and coming up with a plan to upset the Fijians.

Australia A are no pushovers either. The team is made up of seasoned Super Rugby players and some who at one time have been part of the Wallaby outfit.

This weekend Reds Fijian wing Filipo Daugunu will get a chance to show his worth. The Australia A players have a reason to impress selectors as well, as spots for the World Cup are still open.

Despite Fiji’s big win last week, Fiji’s head coach Verner Cotter was not happy with his side’s performance against Tonga. Cotter has players at his disposal and there will be a number of changes.

One thing is for sure – at the end of Saturday after the big hits, bone crunching tackles and exhilarating runs, rugby is going to be the real winner.


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