Wales v Tonga
Wales want protection against 'vigorous' Tonga
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2013
Tonga's players get stuck in against France at the weekend © Getty Images

Wales, already hit by injury worries after their win over Argentina at the weekend, are slightly apprehensive about this Friday's game against a Tongan side with a reputation for a non-nonsense approach to the game.

Tonga's defeat by France on Saturday made the headlines after prop Sona Taumalolo was sent off after launching a flurry of punches at France forward Yoann Maestri. Scrum-half Taniela Moa also received a yellow card for elbowing Dimitri Szarzewski.

That has led to Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards saying it is "vital" players are protected by referee Mike Fraser.

"If I am honest, the South Seas Pacific Islands have a real reputation, which was cemented a little bit on Saturday with the Fiji game and Tonga game, of some little bit of unsavoury incidents at times."

Fiji set a new world record when they were on the receiving end of five yellow cards against Italy and at one stage they were down to 11 men on the field.

"It is really vital that we keep our discipline, but it is also vital the referee protects our players. That's why I am so pleased that he [Fraser] is coming over. I've seen him in the ITM Cup and he is a really good referee. I am sure he won't put up with any nonsense, because it is something that has occurred more than once.

"They are very vigorous, as you would expect. They are proud people, but as long as it's within the laws of the game. I think Saturday was a little bit of a reminder, both the Fiji game and the Tonga game, that it can boil over at times and it is vital that we, in particular, keep our discipline."

Edwards said that changes to the Wales team would be in part because of injuries but also so younger players could get a chance to impress. "It's important we also develop players for the future. You can't just have a first XV, can you, which has been proven recently with the number of injuries we've had."

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