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Tonga Confirms Team To Face Kiwis In Rotorua

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, New Zealand, October 13, 2009 - Parramatta's Feleti Mateo will lead Tonga in tomorrow night's one-off Test against the world champion Kiwis at Rotorua International Stadium.

He also played against the Kiwis in last year's equivalent contest, a build-up match for both sides before the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

Tomorrow night's Test is important in terms of the Kiwis' preparation for their campaign in the inaugural Four Nations in England and France and it also serves as a build-up for Tonga's bid in the forthcoming Pacific Cup in Papua New Guinea. The winner of that tournament will be the fourth side involved alongside the Kiwis, the Kangaroos and England in the 2010 Four Nations in New Zealand and Australia.

The Kiwis will defend the Peter Leitch QSM Challenge Trophy on Wednesday night, a trophy first contested when the New Zealanders met Tonga ahead of the World Cup last year; it will be at stake whenever New Zealand plays one of the Pacific nations.

Apart from Mateo, Tonga's new coach Rohan Smith - who coached Newcastle's NYC side this year - has a team includes former Vodafone Warriors back rower and 2006-07 Kiwi Epalahame Lauaki, Newcastle second rower Richard Fa'aoso, Cronulla's Melbourne-bound Atelea Vea, Viliami Mataka (Wests Tigers), Etuate Uaisele (Parramatta) and 2009 rookie Warrior Ukuma Ta'ai. Ta'ai will become a double international after previously representing Tonga in test rugby.

Mateo, Fa'aoso, Lauaki, Uaisele, halfback Eddie Paea and Joel Taufa'ao - named on the interchange bench - were involved in Tonga's World Cup campaign last year.

The Test is the first the Kiwis have played in Rotorua since overwhelming Papua New Guinea there in 1996.

Auckland referee Leon Williamson will control the match. TEST MATCH

KIWIS v TONGA

ROTORUA INTERNATIONAL STADIUM, ROTORUA

7.30PM, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2009

REFEREE: LEON WILLIAMSON (NZ)

TONGA

1 TOSHIO LAISENI 2 SAM HUIHAHAU 3 PITA MAILE 4 SIUATONGA LIKILIKI 5 ETUATE UAISELE 6 FELETI MATEO (c) 7 EDDIE PAEA 8 EPALAHAME LAUAKI 9 ELIAKIM UASI 10 RICHARD FA'AOSO 11 UKUMA TA'AI 12 VILIAMI MATAK 13 ATELEA VEA Interchange: 14 JOEL TAUFA'AO 15 SIONE TOVO 16 SIOSAIA VAVE 17 PAKI AFU 18 NAFE SELUINI

COACH: ROHAN SMITH

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