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Thread: USA favourites over Tonga

  1. #1
    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    USA favourites over Tonga

    USA given unfamiliar 'favourites' tag (from RWC site)

    MONTPELLIER, 11 September - USA's heroic performance against England has put them in unfamiliar territory for their Pool A match against Tonga on Wednesday, according to Tonga head coach Quddus Fielea.

    "Suddenly no-one is giving us a chance in this match after the way they (USA) played against England," Fielea said in the build-up.

    "But we haven't played yet. Let's wait and see what happens then."

    However USA forwards coach Marty Wiggins was not buying into the pre-match hype.

    "We wouldn't consider us favourites in any way, shape or form. We're coming off a loss. But we know what we need to do to improve our performance."

    Captain good to play


    Tonga captain Nili Latu has been declared fit after missing training this week with a hamstring injury, and leads the side out in what will be their fourth IRB Rugby World Cup appearance.

    The Ikale Tahi (Sea Eagles) are targeting USA as a must-win match if they are to achieve their quater-final aspirations.

    "If we beat USA, it will open the door for us to qualify," says flanker Latu. "If we don't, it will be very hard for us."



    So impressed was head USA coach Peter Thorburn (NZL) by his team's performance in their 28-10 loss to England, he initially named an unchanged line-up for the Tonga match.


    Centre out


    However, USA centre Paul Emerick copped a five-match suspenion on Tuesday following a RWC 2007 judicial hearing that upheld a citing complaint for a dangerous tackle on England fly half Olly Barkley.


    Thorburn said rather than focus on the opposition, he was concentrating on what he could control within his own team.


    "We have our own philosophies to do what we want to do," he said.


    "You can get paralysis by analysis. It's not bad to have a fear of the opposition, not of them physically, but of what they could do if we give them latitude."

    Not taken lightly

    While Tonga are only focusing on a win, they are not taking the threat posed by USA Eagles lightly.

    At 15 on the IRB world rankings, the USA lie just one place behind Tonga and Ellis Meachen, Tonga's assistant coach, is anticipating a close encounter.

    "We expect USA to be well organised," he said. "They have a very good coach with a lot of experience and the ability to mould a good team."

    USA's Tongan flavour

    USA's Vahafolau Esikia, Fifita Mounga, Salesi Sika, and Matekitonga Moeakiola were all born in Tonga, and Moeakiola is the nephew of Tonga head coach Fielea.

    Moeakiola said there could be a bit said out on the field to his old friends in the USA team.

    "Yeah, we'll be talking trash to each other. But we'll leave it on the field. It will be emotional."


    There will certainly be no room for sentiment when the whistle blows with both teams looking to get their first points in RWC 2007.

    The United States and Tonga have never met in the RWC but have played each other twice outside the tournament, with honours shared at one win apiece.

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  2. #2
    Veteran Contributor JediKnight's Avatar
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    Split loyalties on this one....

    USA: because I'm currently in Chicago & due to our good friend in Joisey.

    Tonga: because one of my directors (aka Mr X) is also a director of Tonga Rugby

    Think I'll sit on the fence on this one & enjoy the rugby!

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    Veteran Contributor LarryNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediKnight
    Split loyalties on this one....

    Think I'll sit on the fence on this one & enjoy the rugby!
    We'll let Tonga win tomorrow and the USA will upset SA!

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    I'm cheering for Tonga, if only because of that damn bug on Larry's posts

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    Veteran Contributor LarryNJ's Avatar
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    Hey Burgs!


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    That's okay like that, it loses the effect of catching my eye and making me "blow it" off the screen

    Still going for Tonga

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