Tonga's bid to win a full-time place on next year's World Sevens Series has suffered another setback, with passport delays forcing head coach Etuate Waqa to miss this weekend's London tournament.
The Kingdom are one of eight teams competing in the core-team qualifier event, where the top three sides will earn a permanent spot on next year's World Circuit.
Waqa was forced to go back to Fiji this week, because of delays with his passport renewal in Manila.
He says it's now too late for him to join the squad, with his assistant, Tevita Tuifua, to handle the coaching duties in London...capping a frustrating build-up.
"First there wasn't a lot of support from the Tonga Rugby Union itself. For me personally, and I think with the boys also, it's not the first time that they haven't gone through all the things - it's becoming a part of it all the time - so that's why I told them it doesn't matter we've been through this situation. So we are going into a tournament right now without any game-time. We are positive all the time - I told them to stay focused on the job at hand [and] anything can happen on the day."
Tonga will face Russia, Portugal and Spain in the pool phase of the qualifier event.