ANZ Pacific Nations Cup- start your engines!
The eagerly awaited ANZ Pacific Nations Cup gets underway tomorrow; Tonga will hope to start off where they left off last year- beating Fiji.
Tonga vs Fiji is the first clash in the eagerly awaited ANZ Pacific Nations Cup. The match will be played in Nuku'alofa, which literally translates as “The abode of love”. It is a tranquil little town, parked on the foreshore, it has a Royal palace, locals catching their fish for the day and a wee bit of hustle bustle island style in the markets.
Over the past 3 seasons the Tongan’s have ruled supreme over Fiji, they will be wanting to continue this domination on their home track.
Way back in the early days (1776) a guy called Captain Cook sailed into the beautiful shores of Tonga, he was so impressed with the people and their hospitality he named Tonga “The friendly islands”. This may be so as you walk the streets, snorkel the waters and feast on their crispy pig on the spit, but it is the non-friendliest place on earth when you meet them on the rugby field.
With bodies and mass that is the envy of any gym goer in the universe, these men are prime athletes & made for contact. You only need to look at Wallaby greats George Smith and Willy O as ultimate examples of this, they are true Tongan exports. Today in Nuku'alofa central I bumped into a few of the Tongan lads at a café. Hearing their views & watching their arms as wide as doors picking up coffee cups that looked like 20cent pieces, makes you feel very thin & very glad you don't play against them. The word from camp Tonga is to watch out for their explosive number 8 and young hooker tomorrow.
Coming up against them will be a blend of new and experienced in the Fiji squad, throughout the Pacific Rugby Cup the Fiji teams showed a rapid rise in body strength, tomorrow at high noon this theory will be tested properly. Match one is so important in any competition, even more so when you next dust up will be against a star studded Junior All Blacks team. Illy Tabua and his men will need to get Fiji on the right track here in Nuku'alofa. To put the scale of the task into perspective there is a famous quote from former Fiji captain Alifereti Doviverata “They say Tonga has no mountains, but when you play them in rugby there is one mountain, their heart”.
Tomorrow sees the might of the Pacific collide; through this site we will bring you all the imagery and reports for the entire journey through the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup.