Tonga head coach Charles Tonga has named his 19 man squad to play Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday (20:00)
Sika Manu has praised the support of his team in the wake of their surprise defeat to Scotland in the opening match of Group C at Rugby League World Cup 2013, but insists that his side have more in store for their next match against the Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday (8.00pm).
The Mate Ma’a were defeated 24-26 by Scotland in Cumbria last week, and Manu believes that the loss was largely down to the Tongan side not starting their RLWC2013 off with a bang.
“It was really tough against Scotland but we put ourselves in the situation,” said Manu. “We let Scotland get on top of us in the first half and that left us playing catch-up football in the second half, so it was tough but we brought it on ourselves.
“The coach gave us a bit of a rocket in half time and we knew we had to come out and play tough as soon as the whistle blew. I thought we did well in the second half but we had to start well.
“I definitely think we have got a lot more in the tank for the rest of the tournament. Today was our first run in a while so hopefully next game against Cook Islands we will start better and continue for the whole 80 minutes.”
After scoring two tries against the Bravehearts Manu was named man-of-the-match, though he feels that it would have meant more had his side won the match in Cumbria, which was witnessed by a strong contingent of Tongan fans.
“It would have been better to get the man-of-the-match if we had won the game but that is just the way it goes sometimes,” said Manu.
“Though we do want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of the Tongan supporters that were at the game. They must have been with us for about two weeks now and they have just been supporting us one hundred per cent the whole way so they are doing an awesome job.
“We are just taking it game by game so we now have a big one in this next week and hopefully we can come away with a good win. We hope for the best.”
Tickets for the Tonga v Cook Islands RLWC2013 Group C/D match are still available to purchase, from as little as £15 for adults and £7.50 for concessions. To buy your tickets, please either visitwww.eticketing.co.uk/rlwc or call our 24-hour hotline on 08448472013.
Tonga team to take on Cook Islands
Brent Kite (Captain)