Sika Manu and Sam Moa give the lowdown on World Cup semi-final opponents England
Last Updated: 21/11/17 11:06am
Sika Manu and Sam Moa have been providing their Tonga team-mates with the lowdown on England's Super League danger men ahead of Saturday's World Cup semi-final.
Hull second-rower Manu, who is the Tonga captain, and Catalans Dragons' former Hull prop Moa are two of seven English-based players in the Pacific Islanders' squad preparing for the clash at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium.
Hooker Siliva Havili, 24, who plays for St George Illawarra, says he has quizzed the pair about England's most dangerous players.
"I've been asking a few of the boys," Havili said after the team's first training session of the week in Auckland. "Sammy Moa and Sika Manu have been giving us a few tips about certain players.
"They say their threat will be all across the whole park. They have big outside backs and big forwards. We've just got to be up for it on Saturday."
Sydney Roosters prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho is back in the Tonga side after sitting out the 24-22 quarter-final win over Lebanon with a recurrence of an old knee injury, while Penrith forward Peni Terepo is recalled to the bench after recovering from his own knee injury.
Moa misses out on the 17, along with Mahe Fonua (Hull), Samisoni Langi (Leigh), Manu Vatuvei (Salford) and Ukuma Ta'i (Huddersfield) but Warrington-bound second-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila is on the bench.
With around 60,000 people of Tongan descent living in New Zealand, Saturday's game is heading for a 30,000 sell-out.
England supporters were swamped by the hordes of Tongan fans who queued around the block for autographs and raised the roof when the team stepped onto the stage at a midweek supporters' event in Auckland.
Havili said: "It's a buzz seeing Tonga flags all around the country. We know it's in the nature of our people but it's overwhelming to see people from all over the world supporting us. It is inspiring but we can't get caught up in all the hype, we have to stay focused."
Meanwhile, Havili accused England coach Wayne Bennett of playing mind games after he criticised the decisions of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita to switch their allegiance to Tonga from New Zealand and Australia respectively on the eve of the World Cup.
Bennett said the moves amounted to player power, saying: "We have to treat the fans with a lot more respect than we did with this issue.
"It wasn't what the game needed with the World Cup about to start. The game needs to be in charge of the game. The game can't be run by players."
Havili retorted: "It's a bit late in the comp to be commenting on that. I'd say, there's probably some mind games there.
"That's Wayne Bennett stuff, I'd say he's just playing mind games."
Tonga: W Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs); D Tupou (Sydney Roosters), M Jennings (Parramatta), K Hurrell (Gold Coast), D Fusitua (NZ Warriors); T Lolohea (Wests Tigers), M Hingano (NZ Warriors); A Fifita (Cronulla), S Havili (St George Illawarra|), S Siua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters), M Ma'u (Parramatta), S Manu (Hull, capt), J Taumalolo (North Queensland).
Replacements: S Katoa (Penrith), P Terepo (Parramatta), T Pangai jnr (Brisbane), B Murdoch-Masila (Salford).