Tana Fotofili will remain captain of the Tonga men’s seven team despite being suspended for their opening two pool matches in Sydney this weekend.
The 24-year-old was yellow carded in the Kingdom’s opening match in Hamilton, for a dangerous tackle which broke the jaw of USA speedster Perry Baker, and was subsequently cited for an incident in their Challenge Trophy quarter final defeat by Kenya on Sunday.
The Judicial Officer suspended Fotofili for four matches, meaning he missed the victories over Japan and France.
But head coach Tevita Tu’ifua said he will retain his leadership role with the team this weekend.
“He’s still our captain here in Sydney. He’ll be missing the first two pool games and will join in in the last pool game for Saturday,” he said.
“We have a Plan B and C and I think here at the moment we’re sitting on our plan C so quite happy to run and full fit and ready to play and we have boys who are ready to cover.”
Tonga finished 13th in Hamilton, in their first World Series tournament for five years, and Tevita Tu’ifua said it was an important step in their long-term plan.
“Our main target is for (the World Series Qualifier in) Hong Kong and this part of building up towards it,” he said.
“Getting six games out of that tournament (in Hamilton) – that’s a massive achievement for this group. To have the playing time together is a big bonus result (but Hong Kong) is the end target however we’re quite happy with securing all the six games.”
Tonga face another tough task in Sydney after being drawn to play incumbent World Series champions South Africa, hosts and 2018 Sydney Sevens winners Australia and Argentina in pool play.
(Source:Radio New Zealand)