As the Rugby World Cup draws near, exciting times lie ahead for the Pasifika nations. With all three of the Pacific nations taking the field this week, rugby fans continue to be treated to spectacular matchups from around the world.
‘IKALE TAHI V CANADA II
This past Tuesday, the ‘Ikale Tahi concluded their proceedings for 2023 with a second win over Canada.
After a convincing 28-3 outing last week, the ‘Ikale Tahi backed up their performance at Teufaiva Park with a 36-12 win. With several big-name stars in their stellar backline, the Tongan forward pack has grinded away these internationals and given their team their physical identity.
The Tongan team have shown a great sense of growth and maturity to bounce back from their previous losses to Fiji, Japan and Samoa. With a wealth of talent throughout their team, the ‘Ikale Tahi are yet to name their World Cup travelling squad, a tough decision for Head Coach Toutai Kefu and his team. The Tongans have shown their potential is exponential, and they have all the ability to be dangerous if they can play in cohesion.
MANU SAMOA V BARBARIANS
This Friday 18th, Manu Samoa ventures to Stade Amedee in France for a World Cup preparation match against the Barbarians. A late fixture added to the Manu’s schedule, the Samoan men will relish an exclusive opportunity to test themselves against a world-renowned collective.
In their first test since naming their official Rugby World Cup squad, Head Coach Seilala Mapusua and his team will have the opportunity to finalise the combinations he wants to form.
Despite dropping their game to Fiji, the Manu Samoa had impressive wins over Japan and Tonga this past month. Similarly to the ‘Ikale Tahi, the physical style of the Manu has been an integral part of their identity, and they are fully capable of making waves in France this year.
Watch the Manu Samoa face the Barbarians this Saturday 19 August 6.30am NZ time on TVNZ 1.
FIJI V FRANCE
The Flying Fijians have emerged during these internationals as a dark horse in the Rugby World Cup. Currently undefeated for the year going against Tonga, Samoa and Japan, the Fijians will face their toughest test this Sunday against World Cup hosts France at La Beaujoire Stadium. A recent rise into the top 10 of the international Rugby World rankings is a testament to the form this side has been in.
France’s latest outing saw them triumph 31-27 over Scotland. Despite fielding what was widely accepted as a ‘B’ team, the Frenchmen showed their class to pull back a 17-point lead to steal the win from a formidable Scottish outfit.
This early Sunday morning clash will undoubtedly capture the eyes of rugby fans worldwide and will be an excellent glimpse into the calibre of matches the World Cup will have on display.
Watch the Flying Fijians face France this Sunday 20 August, 7:05am NZ time.
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