Two teams looking for their first win in the Americas Pacific Challenge will go head-to-head on Wednesday at the Estadio Charrúa. Tonga ‘A’ had a respectable showing against hosts Uruguay on Saturday but ultimately came up short with the scrum a major culprit. Canada ‘A’ meanwhile had little to cheer about following their comprehensive defeat to the Argentina XV and must effectively start from scratch against the physical Tongans.
Looking to build on the positives, Isi Fatani has made just four changes to his starting side. The only shift in the pack sees Atunaisa Faka’osi switch from lock to the flank and Katilimoni Tu’ipulotu named in the second row. Kuli Tonga will look to make an impact in the back row as a replacement.
Samiu Muna moves to his more accustomed scrumhalf position and James Faiva starts at flyhalf. Similarly Fetuli Paea moves from the midfield to the left wing with hard-running rugby league convert Paki Afu in at inside centre. The last alteration hands an opportunity to Australia-based outside back Johnny Loseli in place of Heamatangi Tu’ivai on the right wing.
As expected Canada have overhauled their team considerably, retaining only five of the team that started on Saturday. The new front row is composed of Rob Brouwer, Eric Howard, and Ryan Kotlewski with veteran Ray Barkwill brought on to the bench along with u20 representative Liam Murray. Liam Chisholm trades spots with Adrian Wadden and starts at lock, and Peter Milazzo replaces Ontario Blues teammate Lucas Rumball at openside flank.
Jorden Sandover-Best will make his first senior representative start for Canada at scrumhalf in a new halfback pairing with Robbie Povey. Conor Desmond moves into the unusual position of outside centre and there are new wingers in Kainoa Lloyd and Karsten Leitner. Mitch Richardson will play fullback having played the majority of his representative rugby at flyhalf or centre.
Kickoff is set for 12:00 noon local time, 11:00am Eastern. A live stream will be provided by World Rugby.
1 Loiola Vea 2 Sione Lolohea (capt.), 3 Makasine Lutua, 4 Vainanuma Manu, 5 Katilimoni Tu’ipulotu, 6 Atunaisa Faka’osi, 7 Taniela Na’a, 8 Topui Sekona, 9 Samiu Muna, 10 James Faiva, 11 Fetuli Paea, 12 Paki Afu, 13 Fe’ofa’aki Kaumavae, 14 Johnny Loseli, 15 Sione Ika
Replacements: 16 Leiataua Kilifi, 17 Solomone Kioa, 18 Misinale Taukalo, 19 Faiva Sailosi, 20 Kuli Tonga, 21 Paula Folau, 22 Heamatangi Tu’ivai, 23 Posiana Kamoto
1 Rob Brouwer, 2 Eric Howard, 3 Ryan Kotlewski, 4 Conor Keys, 5 Liam Chisholm, 6 Kyle Gilmour (capt.), 7 Peter Milazzo, 8 Travis Larsen, 9 Jorden Sandover-Best, 10 Robbie Povey, 11 Kainoa Lloyd, 12 Guiseppe du Toit, 13 Conor Desmond, 14 Karsten Leitner, 15 Mitch Richardson
Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Liam Murray 18 Cole Keith, 19 Adrian Wadden, 20 Dustin Dobravsky, 21 Andrew Ferguson, 22 Patrick Parfrey, 23 Mike Nieuwenhuysen