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Four ex-All Blacks set to start in Tonga's World Cup opener

By Josh Raisey
Malakai Fekitoa (C) of Tonga talks to teammates during the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match between Fiji and Tonga at HFC Stadium in Fiji's capital city Suva on July 2, 2022. (Photo by Leon LORD / AFP) (Photo by LEON LORD/AFP via Getty Images)

Former All Blacks quartet Vaea Fifita, Augustine Pulu, Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Salesi Piutau are all set to start for Tonga on Saturday against Ireland in Nantes.


Fifita is the only former All Black in the pack and will start at No8, while Pulu will wear the No9 jersey, Fekitoa starts at outside centre and Piutau at fullback. Fekitoa will also partner former New Zealand Sevens international Pita Ahki in the midfield.

Former New Zealand under-20 representative Ben Tameifuna will captain the side. The tighthead prop will form a front-row alongside loosehead Siegfried Fisi’ihoi and hooker Paula Ngauamo that has a combined weight of 387kgs.

Tonga’s most capped player ever, Sonatane Takulua, will provide his experience from the bench.

This is Tonga’s first match of the World Cup after having a bye week in round one, and they will face a full strength Ireland team off the back of their biggest ever World Cup win against Romania last week.


Tonga XV
1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi
2. Paula Ngauamo
3. Ben Tameifuna (c)
4. Sam Lousi
5. Halaleva Fifita
6. Tanginoa Halaifonua
7. Sione Talitui
8. Vaea Fifita
9. Augustine Pulu
10. William Havili
11. Solomone Kata
12. Pita Ahki
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Afusipa Taumoepeau
15. Salesi Piutau

16. Sam Moli
17. Tau Koloamatangi
18. Sosefo Apikotoa
19. Semisi Paea
20. Solomone Funaki
21. Sione Vailanu
22. Sonatane Takulua
23. Fine Inisi



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