18 Mar 2013

Sport: Tonga A looking for progress in NZ PRC leg

11:24 am on 18 March 2013

The win column remains bare but Tonga A coach Mana Otai insists his team is making progress in the Pacific Rugby Cup.

The Kingdom were held tryless in their tournament opener against the Reds College XV a fortnight ago and conceded a combined 94 points in lossess to the ACT XV and Sydney Academy.

They begin the New Zealand leg of the PRC against the Hurricanes Development team in Petone on Monday evening and Mana Otai says they are improving.

"It's actually about bridging the gap between local rugby and international rugby or Super 15 level of rugby. It's getting better and the boys are starting to realise also what is required at this level. So for me personally as a coach it's been a good learning curve as well as development for the players."

Lining up against the Tongan team will be 'Ikale Tahi halfback Samisoni Fisilau, who's a member of the Hurricanes Super Rugby squad.

Otai says that brings with it an unexpected problem.

It's an afterthough after our captains run that he might be in the crucial position to hear all our calls in Tongan. It's something that's a luxury we have had that we don't have to worry too much about formulating calls but now Samisoni might be a worry for us that we might have to work something out, up our sleeves, just in case.

Also on Monday, the Highlanders Development team host the Fiji Warriors, the Blues host Samoa A and the Japan Juniors take on the Reds College XV.