9 Sep 2011

Sport; Maka cleared to lead Tonga in Rugby World Cup opener

11:25 am on 9 September 2011

Tonga's captain Finau Maka has been deemed fit to lead his side into tonight's Rugby World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Auckland.

A niggly hamstring strain hasn't excluded Maka with yesterdays captains run leading to confirmation Maka will start.

Tonga has enjoyed immense support from the local Tongan community in Auckland, evident initially in a massive welcome at the airport on Monday.

But team manager, Tonga's Solicitor General, Aminasai Kefu, says they're not concerned the team is getting too emotional about the role it will play in opening the World Cup

"The boys are just absorbing and concentrating.These guys are all professionals.They play in Europe and Japan.They're use to this hype.They're being realistic and not being carried away.But they look at the great support as motivation and extra energy for them."