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Thread: Ex-Wallaby Coleman's Tonga switch confirmed as Kefu plots WC ambush

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    Ex-Wallaby Coleman's Tonga switch confirmed as Kefu plots WC ambush

    Wed, Jun 14, 2023, 1:26 PM
    by AAP and Nathan Williamson



    Coleman was named as part of their 35-player squad alongside former teammates Israel Folau and Sitaleki Timani.

    The 38-Test Wallaby's move to the tier two nation was flagged by Kefu last year to Rugby.com.au, with Coleman's late father Pau’u Afeaki captaining Tonga’s rugby team in 1983 while cousin Inoke Afeaki played in the 1995, 2003 and 2007 World Cups for Tonga.

    “I approached Adam out of the blue a year ago and went the step further by sitting down with him in London about five weeks ago," Kefu said last year

    “He’s very keen to represent the Tongan side of his heritage and experience a World Cup again. It’s a connection he feels strongly about.”

    Tonga finds themselves in a stacked World Cup group that includes world No.1 Ireland, defending champions South Africa, the improved Scotland (No.5) and Romania (No.19) stand in their way this September-October.

    However, Kefu remains confident of causing a major upset with former New Zealand World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa, All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau and forward Vaea Fifita are all named in Kefu's squad.

    "We're going to have a really good team, probably the best ever," he said to AAP at the start of the month."

    Tonga, ranked 15th in the world, have played in all but one World Cup since 1987 but never progressed out of the pool stages.

    The 2019 Japan tournament was arguably their best campaign, with a win over the USA and two-point loss to France, and are aiming for the biggest upset of them all

    "We're in a tough pool, but we'll throw all our eggs in one basket and aim up against Ireland," Kefu said.

    "We can't play footy with them; they'll beat us every day of the week.

    "So we need to come up with a bit of a plan and I think we've got one ... it's going to be good."

    Tonga squad for July Tests
    FORWARDS: Siegeried Fistihoi, Feao Fotuaika, David Lolohea, Paula Ngauamo, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Sosefo Sakalia, Ben Tameifuna, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Samiuela Lousi, Halaleva Fifita, Sitiveni Mafi, Vaea Fifita, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Solomone Funaki, Sione Vailanu, Lopeti Timani, Sione Havili Talitui

    BACKS: Sonatane Takulua, Augustine Pulu, Manu Paea, William Havili, Otumaka Mausia, Patrick Pellegrini, Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, Afusipa Taumoepeau, George Moala, Fine Inisi, Isileli Folau, Solomone Kata, Salesi Piutau, Kuren Taumoefolau

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/exwall...ambush-2023614

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    It's a bit of a shame there can't be second (and third) tier classification finals, so each nation plays out a least one extra match after the Pools.
    This would surely see some great matches between the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed Pool slots (maybe a three fixture round robin) and help the lower teams get important exposure.

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