5 Oct 2010

Tonga rugby side looking to the long term

4:10 pm on 5 October 2010

Tonga is taking a long-term approach to it's participation ahead of their opening match of the Americas Rugby Championship against the United States in Cordoba, Argentina.

A 26 man development squad featuring 22 locally-based players has been selected and coaching staff are using the tournament as an opportunity to run the rule over any potential bolters for next year's Rugby World Cup.

The Tonga A backs coach, Sateki Tuipulotu says they'll be looking to move the big American forward pack around in their opening fixture on Wednesday but he says while short-term success in the tournament is important to them , they're also looking further ahead.

"Maybe there will be one or two bolters, out of this team, that can join the world cup squad. The rest of the players are development for Tonga in the future. It's a very young group of players that we've taken over. We're not only looking at the short-term goals but we're also looking at the long term goals as well, hoping these players can be developed overseas as well and brought back to Tonga when the national competitions against other nations start."

Wednesday's other match is between the teams representing the host nation, Argentina, and Canada.