28 Sep 2015

Latu ruled out as Tonga ring changes for Namibia

10:35 am on 28 September 2015

Tonga has made nine changes for tomorrow night's Rugby World Cup Pool C clash against Namibia in Exeter.

Talismanic captain Nili Latu has been ruled out with a hamstring concern and replaced by Jack Ram on the openside flank.

Nili Latu will captain Tonga at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Nili Latu has been ruled out of the match against Namibia. Photo: AFP

Sione Kalamafoni and Viliamu Ma'afu are the sole survivors in the pack, with 'Ikale Tahi coach Mana Otai naming a brand new tight five from the team upset by Georgia in their opening match.

Soane Tonga'uiha, Aleki Lutui and Sila Puafisi get their first starts in the front row and Hale T Pole and Joe Tuineau are named at lock.

Out wide, Latiume Fosita replaces Kurt Morath at first five, Siale Piutau moves to centre to make way for Sione Piukala at second five and David Halaifonua comes in for Telusa Veainu on the right wing.

Mana Otai says they aren't taking anything for granted against their African opponents.

"We've learnt from Georgia as well that you just can't take anybody lightly - Japan have shown that as well against South Africa - so really for us at the moment we've got to take every game seriously, regardless of where they are on the rankings. And the higher you are on the rankings, the underdogs come in and they've got nothing to lose.

"It has happened to us already so we can't take anything else any other way but to focus on playing well - and playing to win of course."

Full squad:

  • Soane Tonga'uiha
  • Aleki Lutui Tofoa
  • Sila Puafisi
  • Hale T Pole
  • Joe Tuineau
  • Sione Kalamafoni
  • Jack Ram
  • Viliami Ma'afu (c)
  • Sonatane Takulua
  • Latiume Fosita
  • Fetu'u Vainikolo
  • Sione Piukala
  • Siale Piutau (C)
  • David Halaifonua
  • Vungakoto Lilo
  • Paula Ngauamo
  • Tevita Mailau
  • Halani Aulika
  • Tukulua Lokotui
  • Opeti Fonua
  • Samisoni Fisilau
  • Kurt Morath
  • Telusa Veainu