Tonga captain Finau Maka doesn't expect a sore Achilles to stop him from playing against New Zealand in the opening match of the World Cup on Friday, despite his coach and brother being more uncertain.
Tongan coach and sibling of the skipper, Isitolo Maka, revealed that Finau, who has hardly trained for the last two days as a precaution, was the team's only injury concern when he announced his team on Wednesday.
Coach Maka didn't sound 100 percent convinced on his brother's fitness, saying he'd likely play "but we'll finalise the team tomorrow." However, Finau, sitting alongside him, added, "he's thinking like that but I'm playing."
Finau wants to see how his Achilles feels during the captain's run on Thursday.
The Tongan boss has made four changes and two positional switches to the team which beat Fiji 32-20 in Lautoka in their last warmup match two weeks ago for the clash with the All Blacks.
Tonga: 15 Vunga Lilo, 14 Viliame Iongi, 13 Suka Hufanga, 12 Andrew Ma'ilei, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Finau Maka (captain), 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Joe Tu'ineau, 4 Paino Hehea, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ephraim Taukafa, 17 Alisona Taumalolo, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Samiu Vahafolau, 21 Samisoni Fisilau, 22 Alipate Fatafehi.
Date: Friday, September 9
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 20.30 (08.30 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland))
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Stuart Terheege (England)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
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