8 May 2013

Sport: 'Ikale Tahi coach opts to rest some front-line players from PNC squad

11:12 am on 8 May 2013

'Ikale Tahi rugby coach Mana Otai says player welfare was a factor in how he selected his squad for next month's Pacific Nations Cup.

Otai announced a 39 man squad including veterans Nili Latu, Taniela Moa and Fetu'u Vainikolo.

The squad also marked the return of first five Kurt Morath, who declared himself unavailable for last year's Northern Hemisphere tour.

Mana Otai says he's also left some first choice players out this time, including French-based prop Sona Taumalolo, after a heavy workload for their clubs.

"There's a few of them there that probably need a bit of a rest and I think since they signed up to go over to Europe - the likes of Taumalolo and Tevita Mailau and the likes - haven't had a rest so I think it's time for having a little bit of a break and get themselves right again.Overall I think the squad looks pretty good, it's exciting."

Tonga open their PNC campaign against Japan in just over a fortnight.