Afeaki determined to end England reign
PA Sport.
September 26, 2007

Tonga forward Inoke Afeaki is confident the Pacific Islanders can end England's reign as world champions on Friday night.

Afeaki and company will arrive at Parc des Princes, having already enjoyed the best World Cup in Tonga's history.

But victory over the Webb Ellis Trophy holders guarantees a quarter-final appointment with Australia in Marseille on October 6.

And an England defeat would see them create ignominious history as the first reigning world champions to make a pool stage exit.

England scored 13 tries during their one previous clash against Tonga - a 101-10 romp during the 1999 World Cup at Twickenham.

Tonga though, with a large European playing base, are now made of much sterner stuff, as Pool A triumphs against Samoa and the United States have already proved.

And they also came within five points of holding group winners South Africa in Lens last Saturday, suggesting England should expect everything bar a stroll in the park.

Afeaki said: ``I think they (England) will be nervous. They should be.

``We've got more firepower, a good game plan, and if they don't turn up and play as best as they can, they know they will be on the back foot.

``It is good for us. It's an all-or-nothing situation, as it should be at a World Cup.

``We are here, we are playing well and I think our chances are better than England's. We will do our homework on what we need to put in place.''

Tonga captain Nili Latu though, is battling to be fit for his country's biggest Test match.

Bay of Plenty flanker Latu has been named to lead the side by head coach Quddus Fielea, but he has still to shake off a hamstring problem.

Fielea has made three changes, including one positional switch, up front following Tonga's narrow loss to Pool A winners South Africa in Lens last Saturday.

Flanker Hale T Pole returns from suspension to pack down alongside back-row colleagues Latu and Toulouse number eight Finau Maka.

And Viliami Vaki, who started in the number six shirt against South Africa, moves to lock instead of an injured Paino Hehea, where he will partner Lisiate Fa'aoso.

The side includes Northampton prop Soane Tonga'uiha and Worcester hooker Aleki Lutui, while Cardiff Blues flanker Maama Molitika is on the bench after being drafted into Tonga's squad as an injury replacement.

Tonga, meanwhile, say they are making no special plans for England fly-half star Jonny Wilkinson, who scored 24 points during the victory over Samoa in Nantes last weekend.

Maka said: ``We are mainly focusing on our job and what we do best.

``If we keep hold of the ball, then Jonny can't do his magic.''

And Latu added: ``We watched Samoa against England, and Jonny controlled the game, but rugby takes 15 players and they have a lot of good players.

``We will continue to play the way we've been playing. We'll get opportunities to score, so it's in our own hands to take them.''

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