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RNZ PACIFIC – Ospreys prop Ma’afu Fia and Hawkes Bay lock Sam Ulufonua will make their international rugby debut this weekend after being named to start for Tonga against the French Barbarians.
Wellington prop Tolu Fahamokioa, Bay of Plenty flanker Zane Kapeli and Taranaki wing Latu Vaeno are also poised to make their first appearance for the ‘Ikale Tahi off the bench in Bordeaux, France.
34-test stalwart Siale Piutau will captain the Kingdom from second five, alongside 35 year old Grenoble centre Alaska Taufa, who earned the last of his 12 test caps four and a half years ago.
Another Grenoble regular Daniel Kilioni will line up on the left wing in his first appearence for the ‘Ikale Tahi in two year.
Meanwhile 42 test veteran Vunga Lilo, who along with Kapeli were not named in the original tour squad, will start at fullback, having last played for the Tonga at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Tonga are using the French Baabaas clash in Bordeaux, France to prepare for tests against Wales and Georgia.
Tonga team vs French Barbarians:
- Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2. Paula Ngauamo, 3. Ma’afu Fia*, 4. Sam Ulufonua*, 5. Leva Fifita, 6. Dan Faleafa, 7. Fotu Lokotui, 8. Sione Vailanu, 9. Sonatane Takulua, 10. Kurt Morath, 11. Daniel Kilioni, 12. Siale Piutau (c), 13. Alaska Taufa, 14. Viliami Lolohea, 15. Vunga Lilo.
Reserves: 16. Sefo Sakalia, 17. ‘Otutolu Fahamokioa*, 18. Ben Tameifuna, 19. Valentino Mapapalangi, 20. Zane Kapeli*, 21. Leon Fukofuka, 22. Latiume Fosita, 23. Latu Vaeno