Tonga targets improvement at Coral Coast

Caption: Tongans in training. Photo: Peter White.

Fans of Tongan rugby can look forward to the Tonga Aoniu Barbarians returning to the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

Although the Friendly Islanders are not attending next week’s Fiji Water Centennial 7s they will be back at Lawaqa Park on November 14-16.

The coach is likely to be current Tonga Sevens coach Eddie Waqa.

“We will be aiming to do one better than last year by getting into the semifinals of the i-wau (Cup) competition,? said Waqa, who was recently shortlisted for the role of Fiji coach. “The team will be made up of some new players that we want to introduce into international sevens plus some experienced players who have been in the Tongan team this year.

“Fijian Josateki Veikune is expected to lead the side to having just returned to Tonga after a stint in New Zealand.?

A year ago the men in red defeated the Pacific Warriors, Warwick and Davetalevu before losing to eventual finalists Police 7-12 in the quarterfinal.

Tonga attended four international tournaments in the first half of 2013 (Wellington, Hong Kong, London and Moscow) with limited success.

However, the national side claimed the bronze medal at the recent Mini Pacific Games, beating Papua New Guinea 19-12, to again qualify for the IRB Wellington Sevens and will be at the IRB Gold Coast Sevens next month.

Meanwhile, local heroes Davetalevu are among the local teams who have registered for the Coastal Great Eight Sevens at Lawaqa Park on November 1-2.

Eight teams qualify from the Coastal Great Eight ensuring that the ?best of the best? will contest the $60,000 prize pool at the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

The tournament is sponsored by Bayleys Real Estate (Fiji), Goodman Fielder Fiji, Total Fiji Ltd, Fiji Airways, Outrigger on the Lagoon ? Fiji, Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, The Naviti Resort, Fiji Hideaway Resort & Spa, Coastal Rental Cars, Nivea Men, Tappoo Group of Companies, Fiji Chemicals Diversey, Serevi Rugby and Sigatoka River Safari.

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