Police ready for islands clash
Police in Australia are bracing themselves for possible trouble when Pacific rivals Tonga and Samoa go head-to-head.
Last Updated: 29/10/08 11:39am
Police in Australia are bracing themselves for possible trouble when Pacific rivals Tonga and Samoa go head-to-head on Friday.
Extra numbers are being drafted in to Penrith in case the fierce on-field rivalry spills over onto the terraces, and both teams have been warned to keep their distance when performing their pre-match hakas.
But nothing will stop the fireworks once the whistle blows and the islanders, who are usually separated by just 600km of Pacific Ocean, will both be desperate for the win with bragging rights and qualification from Pool C at stake.
"Tonga and Samoa have always hated each other with a passion," said Tonga boss Jim Dymock, who saw his side narrowly scrape past Ireland in their opening World Cup encounter.
"It will be do or die."
And despite the rivalry, that's one thing the two can agree on. Said Samoa coach John Ackland: "It will be full of passion and very intense."
If Tonga win, they will be through to the semi-final qualifying stage of the tournament. And they already have half an eye on making it there, having taken Ronnie Alovili and Taniela Lasalo out of the squad in favour of Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki.
The latter pair were originally left out of the squad because they played for New Zealand last year. But the New South Wales supreme court has ruled they can change allegiance, but only after November 12.
In the more immediate term, Wakefield captain Awen Guttenbeil is back in the Tonga line-up after missing the Ireland match with a knee injury.
Ireland, meanwhile, will be cheering for a Samoa win. If Ackland's side pull off a victory, Ireland are still in with a chance of qualifying.