Six new caps have been named in the ‘Ikale Tahi rugby team to take part in next month’s Pacific Nations Cup.
Former Highlanders captain Nasi Manu, who’s now based at Italian side Treviso, adds depth to the loose forwards.
Narbonne prop David Feao – the son of former Tonga international Willie Feao – earns his first call-up, having previously represented Tonga Under 20s and Tonga A.
He’s one of three new caps in the front row, alongside former Waratahs loosehead David Lolohea and ex Australian Schoolboys and Under 20s prop Vunipola Fifita.
Counties Manakau wing Sione Fifita and Tasman flyer Viliami Lolohea are the new faces in the backline, while there’s also a recall for veteran first five Kurt Morath.
Siale Piutau will captain the team in tests against Georgia, Samoa and Fiji next month, with all three tests being played in Suva.
Former All Blacks midfielder Pita Alatini, who played one test for Tonga in 1995, has also joined the team as as assistant coach to Toutai Kefu, while former ‘Ikale Tahi captain ‘Inoke Afeaki has been appointed team manager.
Forwards – Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, David Lolohea, David Feao, Sione Lea, Paula Ngauamo, Vaini, Kolomotu’a, Sefo Sakalia, Siua Halanukonuka, Vunipola Fifita, Paea
Fa’anunu, Sitiveni Mafi, Leva Fifita, Joe Tu’ineau, Dan Faleafa, Valentino Mapapalangi, Fotu Lokotui, Maama Vaipulu, Nasi Manu.
Backs – Sonatane Takulua, Suke Tuumotooa, Kurt Morath, Latiume Fosita, George Taina, Siale Piutau, Nafi Tu’itavake, Sione Fifita, Penikolo Latu, Cooper Vuna, Viliami Lolohea, David Halaifonua.