Tongan captain Siale Piutau today at FMG Stadium Waikato
The ‘Ikale Tahi have had to recruit a player from Facebook, but the belief is there that they can land a few blows to an All Black side looking to win the Rugby World Cup.
The team trained at FMG Stadium Waikato today, and captain Siale Piutau said the week was the best preparation the team had had together this season.
“We’ve had some new guys come into the team, so to see their excitement gives us all a bit of a boost.”
The biggest feel-good story of the week has been the selection of Christchurch roofer Siua Maile, who has never played a first-class game before. Injuries have meant that the third-string hooker will now pack down against a powerful All Black front row on Saturday afternoon. Assistant coach Richard Watt confirmed today that Maile was picked on the basis of videos he’d uploaded to Facebook showing highlights of his games for the Shirley rugby club premier side.
Tongan coach and former Wallaby Toutai Kefu told Stuff earlier this week that:
"We didn't envisage him taking any part in the World Cup, so we brought him along basically for experience and because we identified that he's got a massive potential and maybe a player of the future. Three weeks ago he was nailing tin roofs to houses so this is a great opportunity for him. I think he's still a bit shell-shocked to tell you the truth but what a wonderful opportunity."
Maile’s whanau have traveled up from Christchurch for the game, with his brother getting a last minute plane ticket organised by Air NZ. He will join Maile’s wife and sister in the stands on Saturday, along with what’s expected to be a large Tongan supporter base.