16 Jan 2013

Sport: Tonga building for World Series push

12:00 pm on 16 January 2013

Tonga coach Etuate Waqa says this is a crucial year for his team as they seek to return to the top tier of sevens rugby.

Waqa will lead a shadow national side at the annual Uprising Sevens tournament in Lautoka this week.

They will also take part in the next round of the IRB World Series in Wellington and have qualified for June's World Cup in Moscow.

But Waqa says the most important thing for Tonga in 2013 is to win core status for the next World Series.

"We will try to be in the top four in Hong Kong before we go into the second round. There's one more round before you are qualified and that is to be played in England where there is an eight team competition - the top four from Hong Kong plus the champion of the Asian countries and plus the bottom three core teams. That is where we are heading to right now preparation-wise to achieve our goal."