10 Mar 2017

Sport: Fiji Warriors motivated for Pacific Challenge title defence

9:33 am on 10 March 2017

The Fiji Warriors have added motivation to perform in this year's World Rugby Pacific Challenge.

The hosts have been training since December and begin their title defence tonight against Tonga A in Suva.

Coach Senirusi Serevakula said the inclusion of a Fijian team in the Australian National Rugby Championship means players have all the more reason to impress.

"We have to come down to earth again to be able to defend this Pacific Rugby Challenge, rather than just depending on it's home turf for us and we are the champion," he said.

"So we will take every game as very important and we want to retain the PRC.

"We are looking forward to another level, which is the Australian competition, so if they perform well for this one then they may consider into the extended squad to prepare for the NRC."

Fiji Warriors celebrate winning the 2016 World Rugby Pacific Challenge.

Fiji Warriors celebrate winning the 2016 World Rugby Pacific Challenge. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Tonga A finished winless at last year's Pacific Challenge but Senirusi Serevakula is expecting a more formidable opponent.

"Before they always bring the locals back in the islands - now it's eleven of them from New Zealand so it's a different side," he said.

"I think they really mean business and they want to come and win and it's been on the paper every day that they want to give Fiji a good game and very physical and they want to win against us."

The captains of Samoa A (Patrick Faapele), Fiji Warriors (Mosese Voka), Tonga A (Sione Lolohea) and Junior Japan (Kosuke Horikoshi).

The captains of Samoa A (Patrick Faapele), Fiji Warriors (Mosese Voka), Tonga A (Sione Lolohea) and Junior Japan (Kosuke Horikoshi). Photo: Bruce Southwick/Zoomfiji

A closed law trial around the scrum and ruck areas will be in place, with the 'set' call removed from the scrums, the halfback no longer reqiring a signal from the referee to throw the ball into the scrum, one player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball and the tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from his side of the tackle gate.

Meanwhile Junior Japan take on Samoa A in today's opening match at ANZ Stadium.